Netherlands-Van Basten faith in Van Persie rewarded
STUTTGART, June 17 (Reuters) Robin van Persie inspired the Netherlands to a 2-1 win against Ivory Coast and so rewarded coach Marco van Basten for his faith and support.
The Netherlands join Argentina, who thrashed Serbia&Montenegro 6-0, in the last 16 and have to beat the South Americans on Wednesday to finish top of the group.
''We are through in this group and that is okay,'' Van Persie told reporters with some understatement.
''We started the first half well with fine combination football but after that the whole team worked hard to bring home the win and that makes me proud.'' After their first match against Serbia&Montenegro, a 1-0 win, the winger felt rejected on the right wing because his team mates mostly played through the outstanding Arjen Robben on the opposite flank.
Van Basten reminded his team between the two matches that they played with two wingers and more variation would be required for success and that paid off on Friday.
COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE Van Persie was completely responsible for the opening goal against the Ivorians as he was brought down by Arsenal team mate Kolo Toure after he started a solo run from the right flank.
He deliberated with Robben and Wesley Sneijder about who would take the free kick and then pulled the trigger leaving goalkeeper Jean-Jacques Tizie no chance.
''I'm very satisfied about Robin (van Persie) but that feeling has already been there for a longer period,'' Van Basten told reporters.
Van Basten supported Van Persie not only as a player but also when he was under fire in his personal life.
That included a year ago when Van Persie was detained in custody for two weeks as a rape suspect before being cleared.
At the start of the World Cup preparation, Van Persie suddenly came in the picture for the right wing spot, the position he aimed for and paid extra attention to during his last season in London.
''It is hard to explain but from the first days something is growing in our squad,'' said Van Persie.
''The atmosphere is great and that pays off on the pitch, where we not only try to play good football but also work very hard.
''I believe we can achieve something in this tournament.'' Reuters PM DS1505