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Holland goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar said his team’s qualification from Group D to the quarter-final stage has given them a new lease of life.

Germany’s defeat to an under-strength Czech Republic and Holland’s win over Latvia saw the Dutch go through.

And Van der Sar jokingly described it as: “The return of the living dead.”

He told BBC Sport: “We had not packed our suitcases but the chance was there because it was not in our hands.”

The Fulham keeper said the Dutch team had been confident the Czech Republic, who beat Holland in 3-2 in a thrilling match on Saturday, would overcome Germany.

He said: “Of course the most important thing was to win our game.

“And we knew that if we played like we did against the Czech Republic we would not lose this game.

“We needed some help from the Czech Republic and we knew some players did not play for them but beforehand we always had a good feeling about it.”

With Holland now through to a quarter-final match against Sweden, Van der Sar is confident his team can fulfil their dream of winning Euro 2004.

“We’re back on our feet now and three games to go – every match is a final,” he said.

“I think we are starting to play better and that is a good thing.

“Sweden is a good team with good strikers, a strong midfield. Hopefully it will be a nice match like it was against the Czechs but with a different result.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice and substitute Roy Makaay added the third as Holland beat Latvia 3-0.