The Netherlands had already qualified for the World Cup before today's match, though that didn't detract from their scintillating 8-1 victory over Hungary. There was no doubting the star of the show -- striker Robin van Persie, who netted a hat-trick to become the Oranje's all-time top goalscorer. In one showing he drew level and surpassed previous record holder Patrick Kluivert, who was applauding from the sidelines throughout.
The hosts almost took the lead inside three minutes, though Jeffrey Bruma's header was cleared off the line and Jeremain Lens ' follow-up was ruled out for offside. However, the tone for the first half was set, with the Netherlands relentlessly pressuring the Hungarian goal. Only a fortunate goal-saving block kept out van Persie's effort five minutes later, though the visitors could only hold on for so long.
They looked occasionally dangerous on the counter-attack and Balázs Dzsudzsák's free-kick forced Michel Vorm into a save at the near post, though the Dutch took the lead just after 15 minutes in. Daryl Janmaat's curling cross found a free van Persie in the area, who made no mistake with his perfectly-placed header.
The Oranje never looked back, with Strootman adding a second inside ten minutes. A defensive mix-up saw Lens pick up the ball out on the left flank and curl a perfect cross into the area for the AS Roma midfielder, who guided it back across the face of goal and in at the far post for 2-0.
Strootman repaid the favour just over five minutes before halftime, with his chipped pass weakly hooked into the path of Lens by a Hungarian defender. The Dynamo Kyiv winger neatly caught the ball on the bounce and half-volleyed it into the back of the net, with the Dutch looking so comfortable they could've played lying down.
A couple of minutes later the dominant Strootman curled a magnificent long-range effort against the corner of post and bar, before Janmaat tested the strength of the Hungarian woodwork by lashing his effort from the right against the post. Then, right on the stroke of halftime, van Persie nodded in Arjen Robben's cross for 3-0, becoming the Netherlands' all-time joint top goalscorer in the process and celebrating with his fellow record holder and incumbent Dutch assistant coach, Patrick Kluivert.
Dzsudzsák pulled one back for Hungary after Bruma was adjudged to have handled in the area straight from the restart, though there was never any danger of the visitors getting back into the match. They continued to be completely overwhelmed by the hosts, and Lens should've re-established the Netherlands' four goal lead minutes later, only to curl wide after breaking into the area on the counter-attack.
Fortunately his miss was forgotten by the home crowd less than five minutes later, after Robben nodded Strootman's deep cross back into the middle of the box for an onrushing van Persie. He obviously applied the finish, and emphatically sealed his position at the top of the Netherland's all-time top scorers list. He was substituted soon after, leaving the pitch to a standing ovation,
Hungary gave the Netherlands the odd scare as the match drew towards its conclusion, though it was all irrelevant to the final outcome of the game. The hosts added a sixth - or rather had a sixth added for them - by the charitable young international debutant Szilárd Devecseri, who, with the accuracy of a van Persie header, managed to guide the ball beyond his own goalkeeper with 25 minutes left.
That still wasn't the end of the torrent of goals, with a couple more added inside the final five minutes of normal time - with both from set-pieces. Rafael van der Vaart's deflected effort sailed beyond goalkeeper Ádám Bogdán, before Robben decided he'd go one better and curl a free-kick in without a touch first. It was the icing on the cake for a spectacular performance and a great confidence-booster, as attentions start to turn towards next summer and Brazil 2014.
As for Hungary, they now drop out of the playoff place and below Turkey by a couple of points. However, with Turkey playing the Netherlands in the final game and Hungary hosting a terrible Andorra side, their World Cup dream is still just about alive.
Netherlands lineup (4-3-3): Michel Vorm; Daley Blind, Ron Vlaar, Jeffrey Bruma, Daryl Janmaat; Kevin Strootman (Leroy Fer 81'), Nigel de Jong, Rafael van der Vaart; Jeremain Lens, Robin van Persie (Dirk Kuyt 61'), Arjen Robben
Goals: van Persie 16', 44', 53', Strootman 25', Lens 38', Devecseri o.g. 65', van der Vaart 86', Robben 90'
Hungary lineup (4-4-2): Ádám Bogdán; Tamás Kádár (Szilárd Devecseri 46'), Zsolt Korcsmár, Richárd Guzmics, Vilmos Vanczák; Balázs Dzsudzsák, József Varga, Tamás Hajnal (Ákos Elek 46'), Vladimir Koman; Dániel Böde, Krisztián Németh (Nemanja Nikolić 79')
Goals: Dzsudzsák 47'
Follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter | Like SB Nation Soccer on Facebook
More in Soccer:
• Rooney continues to make himself a problem
• How UEFA qualifying might shake out
• Jack Wilshere opens a can of works