sport

Van Persie credits Van Gaal

Holland striker Robin van Persie paid tribute to manager Louis van Gaal for masterminding the stunning 5-1 victory over World Cup holders Spain.

Van Persie, who will work under his fellow countryman when he takes charge at Manchester United after this summer's global showpiece, scored twice in Group B clash on Friday night.

Arjen Robben also bagged two as the world and European champions were rocked by a scintillating display of second-half attacking football from the Netherlands, who were playing a new-look 3-5-2 formation.

And Van Persie, who also rattled the crossbar with a venomous second-half strike, believes much of the credit needs to go the man who will be looking for Premier League glory next season.

The striker said: "Louis spent weeks with us working hard on this tactic.

"Everything he said was realised in the game. That is almost unbelievable.

"Credit to all of us and the staff because we have been working on this system just a couple of weeks and, if you look back and see how it came off, we can be very glad.

"If you look at the game and you see how fit we were, how much we wanted it and how well we played, it is a massive compliment to everybody in this team and the staff."

And Van Persie admits his opener against Spain, when he converted an audacious diving header which left Iker Casillas rooted to the spot, is the finest he has ever scored.

He added: "It is the best goal of my career. It was a brilliant goal, even I have to say that.

"I look at the occasion and this was one of the biggest so far in my career.

"It was a bit of a gamble but I spotted Casillas off his line before the cross came in.

"Just before I received the ball, I saw Casillas standing in front of his goal, so it was a header but a lobbed header - a great goal."