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March 31, 2015

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Netherlands beat Spain 2-0 in a friendly on Tuesday to earn embattled coach Guus Hiddink some breathing space after a poor start to his second term in charge of the Dutch national team.

Center back Stefan de Vrij and midfielder Davy Klaassen scored first half goals for the Netherlands in the morale-boosting victory.

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Spain, thrashed 5-1 by the Netherlands at the World Cup, never looked like gaining revenge thanks to a combination of bad finishing and good goalkeeping by Kenneth Vermeer.

Hiddink's second stint as Netherlands coach has been disastrous so far. In seven matches ahead of Tuesday's friendly, his team had beaten only Kazakhstan and Latvia in European qualifiers and lost to Italy, the Czech Republic, Iceland and Mexico in qualifiers and friendlies.

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