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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kluivert Scores 3 on Ruined Yugoslavia




ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- Patrick Kluivert almost became the first player to score four goals in one match at a European Championship finals when the Netherlands demolished Yugoslavia 6-1 Sunday to reach the semifinals.


The Barcelona striker put t he co-host ahead in the 24th minute of the quarterfinal in Rotterdam and added a second seven minutes before halftime.


But after the game, Kluivert admitted he had not scored the third goal.


Kluivert was at first credited with scoring four goals, and he would have become the only player to have achieved the feat in the history of the finals.


But his fourth goal was struck from the record books by UEFA on Monday after video reviews showed the referee had attributed the goal to the wrong player.


UEFA said its Technical Study group had reviewed video replays after Kluivert had admitted that it was a Yugoslav defender who had been the last person to touch the ball.


The third goal came in the 51st minute when Kluivert and Yugoslav Dejan Govedarica both went for a cross into the goalmouth from Paul Bosvelt. The ball was deflected into the net.


But Kluivert added his third just three minutes later, this time with Boudewijn Zenden supplying the final pass from the left. That goal took his international tally to 28 in 44 games.


Marc Overmars added another two in the 78th and 90th minutes before Yugoslavia scored an injury-time consolation goal from Savo Milosevic.


Kluivert's goals in a brilliant Dutch performance made the forward the leading striker in the tournament, with five goals so far.


They were enjoyed by the fanatical Dutch fans in a capacity 44,000 Rotterdam crowd, almost all of them sporting the national color of bright orange.


The Dutch victory sets up a semifinal against Italy in Amsterdam on Thursday.


Kluivert's first came after Dennis Bergkamp put him through in the box with a fine floating ball. The former Ajax Amsterdam forward controlled the ball on the run with one touch and then fired past Ivica Kralj with his right foot.


Edgar Davids supplied the through ball for Kluivert's second, sending a looping pass over the Yugoslav defense. The former Ajax forward fired home with his first touch.


The Dutch could easily have added to their tally, even after Kluivert was substituted in the 60th minute after taking a knock.


Kluivert could hardly credit the scoreline.


He said: "It was totally unexpected. We started the game completely concentrated and it ended like this. This moment is still unbelievable.


"I need more time to get over it. Everything went so fast. It's a bit like a dream."


He added: "The fact that I am top scorer at the moment does not bother me at all. We all want one thing f reaching the final and winning it."


Yugoslav coach Vujadin Boskov said the Dutch were lucky to beat his team.


"The Dutch played excellently but they had some luck," he said.


"We had the first goal chance but unfortunately we didn't score it. What can I do? I have to pay them my compliments and congratulate them.


"Playing them on their own pitch in front of their own fans was not easy. They were better than us but I also think they were lucky."


Boskov said he was not unhappy with the overall performance of his team at the finals.


"I think we succeeded at this European Championship," he said. "Technically and tactically we are the eighth best team in Europe."


Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard praised his team's "fantastic" display.


"After such a game I can only be very satisfied. I must pay a very big compliment to my team," he said.


"There are a lot of possibilities in this side. You are always waiting for the moment when everything you expect comes together, and this was the moment."


Rijkaard added: "It was fantastic team effort. At halftime we were still not certain we would win because the Yugoslavs were getting irritated and provoking things.


"When it's like that you only have to make one mistake and you can have a lot of problems.


"We had to start the second half like we finished the first, but after the third goal I think the match was over."