Robin van Persie was left satisfied with his two-goal return for the Netherlands in their 2-1 friendly win against Mexico last night. The 26-year-old forward had not played for the Oranje since rupturing ankle ligaments in a friendly against Italy in November. Van Persie only returned for club side Arsenal in the dying stages of last season, but his double showed he should be fit and firing for the FIFA World Cup™.
The striker scored both goals during a dominant first-half Dutch display, and while Van Persie was indebted to a pair of defence-splitting assists by midfield duo Rafael van der Vaart and Ibrahim Afellay, he converted his chances with unerring confidence.
This Dutch team really is of very high quality.
"The assists of Van der Vaart and Afellay were both amazing," Van Persie told SBS6. "It wasn't too much of a problem to find the net after their great passes. This Dutch team really is of very high quality. We were quite impressive for the majority of the first half and we have shown what we're capable of. I've seen some very good attacks before the break. We were unable to keep up our good form after the interval, but that isn't too much of a problem. It was our first exhibition game so we are satisfied. We have trained very hard in the past couple of days and that showed in the second half."
Holland boss Bert van Marwijk was particularly pleased with Van Persie's performance, although he revealed has was forced to substitute the striker after 64 minutes when the Arsenal star felt a slight tightness in his hamstring. "Van Persie was outstanding," said the Netherlands coach, who is due to announce his final 23-man squad to fly to South Africa today. "In the second half he just felt the hamstring a bit so I took him off immediately."
Van Marwijk was slightly concerned with his side's second-half performance. Mexico threatened to grab a draw when Javier Hernandez pulled a goal back after 74 minutes before Martin Stekelenburg saved well from a long-range Giovanni Dos Santos strike.
"You saw after the break the strength of our whole team disappeared, but that is because we have trained so hard," he said. "We played very well in the first half and exposed them. In the second half we were outplayed, so that must get better."