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Emerging players point to bright 'Oranje' future

June 25, 2014 14:11 IST

Emerging players point to bright 'Oranje' future

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While the world delights at the pace of Arjen Robben and finishing of Robin van Persie, younger, less heralded Dutch players are emerging as a key part of the Netherlands' superb start to the World Cup.

Nine points from nine in their Group B campaign, 10 goals scored and a meeting with Mexico in the last 16, the odds on the Oranje lifting the World Cup for the first time are narrowing by the day.

Van Persie and Robben have scored six of those goals, and shared the three man-of-the-match accolades between them.

Inevitably the 30-year-olds have grabbed the headlines, but as Monday's 2-0 victory over Chile in Sao Paulo showed, there is more to the Dutch team than its veteran forwards.

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Image: Fans of the Netherlands
Photographs: Reuters

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'I think it shows that I'm dangerous in the air'

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With Van Persie sitting out the match due to suspension, defensive midfielder Leroy Fer, who plays for English side Norwich, headed his team ahead with his first ever touch at a World Cup, just two minutes after coming on as a substitute.

The 24-year-old was not shy about reminding coach Louis van Gaal of his value to the squad.

"It was a great goal, and the cross from (Daryl) Janmaat was terrific. I met it perfectly. I think it shows that I'm dangerous in the air," he told FIFA.com.

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Image: Leroy Fer of the Netherlands scores his team's first goal on a header
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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'What everybody forgets is that this is a team game'

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Exciting 20-year-old winger Memphis Depay also came on as a substitute and added the second goal in injury time, making it two for the tournament after his winner against Australia in the previous match.

Georginio Wijnaldum, 23, started the Chile game despite only a handful of caps to his name.

"People usually just look at the star players and don't consider the team as a whole," Wijnaldum told world soccer governing body FIFA's website.

"Plenty of teams have more famous, perhaps even better players than us. But what everybody forgets is that this is a team game. We're playing well, and we're playing as a team."

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Image: The Netherlands' Memphis Depay celebrates scoring his team's second goal against Chile
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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'We are all trying to do our best'

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But he added that youngsters like him still had plenty to learn from more experienced players in the side, without whom the Netherlands may have struggled to top the group and avoid a last 16 clash with hosts Brazil.

"We are all trying to do our best, but we still need their help," said Wijnaldum.

"They make us feel more at ease out on the pitch. They've already been in this situation, in 2010, and they know what to expect and what you have to do to win. That is what we're trying to learn, and things are going well."

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Image: Georginio Wijnaldum in action during the Netherlands training session
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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