ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Wesley Sneijder became the Netherlands’ most capped international on his 33rd birthday Friday, marking his 131st appearance for his country with a goal in a 5-0 victory over Luxembourg in a Group A World Cup qualifier.
The veteran midfielder, whose appearance in the Dutch starting lineup meant he overtook former goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar’s long-held record, scored his 31st international goal in the first half.
The win lifted the Netherlands to third in Group A, as Sweden struck late to beat France 2-1 and go top.
Sneijder, a former Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan playmaker who is now at Galatasaray in Turkey, made his international debut on April 30, 2003, in a 1-1 draw against Portugal.
The highlight of his international career was likely his pivotal role in the Netherlands’ run to the final of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was one of four joint top scorers for the tournament with five goals, including a rare headed winner against Brazil in the quarterfinals.
Van der Sar took to Twitter to pay tribute to his former international teammate.
“Records are there to be broken. Proud of my successor Wesley Sneijder breaking the record as most capped player!” Van der Sar tweeted.