Netherlands vs. Estonia: 5 Things We Learned from WC Qualifier

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIMarch 23, 2013

Netherlands vs. Estonia: 5 Things We Learned from WC Qualifier

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    The Netherlands beat Estonia 3-0 on Friday to remain atop Group D in UEFA World Cup qualifying. 

    The Dutch were in full control of the match throughout, but had to wait until the second half to get a breakthrough.

    That win leaves the Netherlands with five wins out of five games and a five-point lead over second-place Hungary.

    Here are five things we learned from this UEFA World Cup qualifier.

    *Unless otherwise stated, all statistics courtesy of

Daryl Janmaat Was Man of the Match

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    Daryl Janmaat picked up two assists after halftime when the Netherlands came to life.

    He could have had three, were it not for Robin van Persie's wayward shooting.

    Janmaat had little to do on the defensive end, but his two assists showed great quality. 

    His first showcased some trickery and accurate passing, as he skipped past an Estonia defender before squeezing in a pass to Rafael Van der Vaart.

    The cross which led to Van Persie's eventual goal was exquisitely placed.

Netherlands Can Go Undefeated in Their Group

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    The Netherlands' remaining fixtures put them in a good position to go through the group undefeated.

    Victory will be expected in away games against Andorra and Estonia.

    The two teams close to them in the standings, Hungary and Romania, have to journey to the Netherlands in their return games.

    An away game in Turkey presents the most difficult task, but Turkey has been struggling in the campaign so far.

    The Dutch beat them in Amsterdam to start off the qualifying round and should feel confident of another good result.

Wesley Sneijder's Woes Continue

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    The bad luck continues for Wesley Sneijder.

    The Dutch playmaker joined Galatasaray from Inter in January, hoping to rediscover his form with a new challenge.

    He has yet to sparkle for his new club, and the injury he picked up before halftime will do little to help his form (via ESPN Soccernet).

    Sneijder has been a shadow of himself since the end of the 2010 World Cup.

Netherlands Scoring from Everywhere

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    Of their 16 goals in the campaign so far, the Netherlands have gotten two from the defense, three from midfield and 11 from the attack.

    While the goals in defense and midfield come from lone individuals, things are much more spread out in the attack.

    Robin van Persie leads the charge, as expected, with three goals and is joined by Jeremain Lens.

    Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ruben Shacken and Luciano Narsingh have also scored.

    The three attackers yet to score are Dirk Kuyt, Ola John and Luuk De Jong. It's highly likely those three will join the rest before the campaign ends.

    More goals should come from the midfield with the likes of Kevin Strootman in the mix. The Dutch defenders are also a good threat on set-pieces.

Defense Tightening Up

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    To say the Dutch defense has gotten better after conceding seven goals in eight games seems weird, but it's the truth.

    Take away the 4-2 friendly loss to Belgium before the qualifying campaign began, and the Netherlands have conceded three goals in seven games.

    That game was a mixture of experimentation and introducing new blood. The back four have become more settled since then, and it shows in their performances.

    Break it down even further to just qualifying games and the Dutch have conceded two goals in five games. Both of those came against the teams currently in second and third place.

    A clean sheet in a friendly against Germany was another positive sign for an increasingly sturdy Dutch defense.

    They may not be facing the highest standard of attacking opposition, but their performances so far are a step in the right direction.