Van Basten delighted to do pal Donadoni a favour
Marco van Basten said he was happy to have done Italy coach Roberto Donadoni a
favour by beating Romania Tuesday in Berne, dpa
Although the Dutch coach made nine changes to the team that trounced world champions Italy and France, Romania came off second best in a 2-0 defeat at St Jakob-Park thanks to second-half goals from Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie.
Italy defeated France 2-0 in Zurich at the same time but had to rely on the Dutch winning or drawing as well to go through to the quarter-finals where they will meet Spain.
Van Basten and Donadoni are friends from their playing days at AC Milan, but the Dutch coach said there had been no contact between the two during the tournament.
"He is a friend of mine, but in a situation like that it is not good to have contact with each other because there is too much interest between the two countries," van Basten said.
"But in the end I am happy he is going through. Happy for him, happy for Italy."
Van Basten said he was pleased with his side's performance, saying the result could have been higher than 2-0. His team would now analyse the next opponents, Sweden or Russia, who clash on Wednesday, and warned that the tournament would now take on a different flavour.
"We are facing the quarter-finals and perhaps more matches, and this will require more mental and physical exertions. This was an excellent opportunity to put new players in," he said.
"We are very happy that all the players on the pitch created excellent impressions. We have 23 players who are internationals. I am very satisfied with this, and I am satisfied that we handled these three matches so well.
"I am happy that even a game like this we played seriously, and I am proud they have done us very well. The group is over, and the real finals are starting now, and with finals there come different emotions, and we have to see how we react on that."
Van Basten was also delighted for man-of-the match Robin van Persie, who started his first match of the tournament after scoring as a substitute against France.
"He worked hard. He had a long and difficult time without playing, and he wasn't completely fit when the tournament started," the coach said.
"Finally he played 90 minutes. He didn't start easily, but he worked hard and was rewarded for his work with a nice goal."