Sao Paulo: After an opening match that left them flying high, the Netherlands were rocked a little on Wednesday when Australia made them fight hard for a 3-2 win. The team from Down Under often outplayed the Oranje, who had in their first match crushed the reigning champions Spain.
Louis van Gaal’s side was ultimately led to victory by captain Robin van Persie and young substitute Mephis Depay. And Van Persie believes that it might have been a wake-up call for his team.
He told the Fifa’s website: “Yes, it was tough… but welcome to the World Cup! This is the biggest tournament in the world, with the very best players, so you know you will have a hard time.
“That was the case against Australia, and it will also be the case next week and the week after that. As I said, this is the World Cup. And this match was a perfect wake-up call for us. But the main thing is that we are through. I don’t think anyone expected that (after just two matches) and it’s a very nice situation for us to be in.”
The fact that his team have booked their place in the round of 16 before facing Chile has also spared Van Persie a potentially excruciating experience. After all, his goal was preceded by a yellow card that will rule him out of the meeting with La Roja, and that made his vital equaliser sweeter.
“That was the goal that got us back into the game,” he said. “It was important; I knew we had to get one and preferably as quickly as possible. As soon as I scored, I had a good feeling again that we could win it. And especially from my point of view, I wanted it extra badly because I knew I wouldn’t be in the team for the next match. I’m annoyed about that.”