Friday 13th June, 2014

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has saluted his side after they thrashed Spain 5-1 in their opening game of the World Cup this evening and explained the final score could even have been better for the Oranje.

Van Gaal, who chose to go with a 5-3-2 formation, deploying two wing-backs against the Spanish, saw his side fall behind midway through the first half when Stefan de Vrij brought down Diego Costa in the penalty box. Xabi Alonso converted to give Spain the lead.

However, a superb header from Robin van Persie on the stroke of half-time, the striker looping the ball over Iker Casillas in the Spain goal, drew the Netherlands level.

And the second half was all about Van Gaal's men, who ran riot, with further goals from Arjen Robben (53rd and 80th minutes), De Vrij (64th minute) and Van Persie (72nd minute).


"If we'd been trailing 1-0 at half-time I'd have to have done something, but Van Persie's goal from [Daley] Blind's pass was great", Van Gaal told NOS.


"He did this with so much feeling and saw the goalkeeper in a flash before his goal, really fantastic.

"I've always known that this is a football tournament. We just have to win. With our 4-3-3 system we had not been able to beat Spain. That's why I chose this [5-3-2].

"It could have been 6-1 or even more."

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