Dutch press triumphant as Oranje trounces the Azzurri
Dutch newspapers ran out of superlatives on Tuesday to describe their team's convincing 3-0 victory over the highly fancied Italian team in its Euro 2008 opener, reported dpa.
"A dream start" to the European championships was a widespread view after Sunday's memorable match in Berne, Switzerland.
Close to 7 million had viewed the triumph on television in pubs and at homes throughout this country of 16.4 million, according to initial statistics.
"This is the way to grab a European title," sports paper AD Sportwereld Pro trumpeted, predicting great things to come from Marco van Basten's orange-shirted squad.
The daily Trouw trumpeted: "Oranje demolishes the world champions."
De Telegraaf was at a loss for words in its own language, reaching instead for Italian. "Oranje Bellissimo," was emblazoned in huge letters across the broadsheet's front page.
De Volkskrant was loud in its praise of Van Basten, the Dutch coach who has not always been given an easy ride by the press.
"The team, so often criticized for average play, gave its best display in almost four years under Van Basten," it said, recalling the glory days of Dutch football of the 1970s, when the team took second place in the 1974 World Cup.
Players like Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart had shown "flair, drive, irrepressibility, insight and, above all, technical skills," it said.
Memories of the last major game at international level - a particularly ugly encounter with Portugal in the first round of the knock-out phase of the 2006 World Cup - had been expunged, the paper said.