Defender Daley Blind praised the team’s young players after the Netherlands finished third at the FIFA World Cup on Saturday.
Goals from Robin van Persie, Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum saw the Netherlands dispose of Brazil 3-0 in their third-place play-off in Brasilia – a result that heaped further misery on the besieged host nation.
Saturday’s performance capped a memorable tournament for the Dutch, who boasted 10 players under the age of 25 in their 23-man squad.
Stefan De Vrij (22), Bruno Martins Indi (22), Daryl Janmaat (24), Joel Veltman (22), Terence Kongolo (20), Jordy Clasie (23), Leroy Fer (24), Wijnaldum (23), Memphis Dempay (20) and Blind (24) were included for Brazil 2014.
Blind was a key component of the Netherlands’ defensive unit throughout the World Cup and he is hoping the team’s younger brigade can stick together as they prepare to embark on a new era under Guus Hiddink following Louis van Gaal’s departure to Manchester United.
“The young players we have are exceptional,” Blind told FIFA.com.
“They are really good. If somebody stops playing, then somebody else stands up and I think it’s always going to be like that.
“We’ll have to see what’s in the future but I hope we stick together.”
Blind added: “I think the positive thing is that we play as a group; we play as a team, every game.
“Whether we win and lose, we stick together. That’s the power and strength of our group.”
The Ajax man was also pleased to score his first international goal after he fired the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards out following David Luiz’s attempted headed clearance fell to his feet in the 16th minute.
“I took one touch and thought, ‘Just shoot!’ It felt really good,” the 19-cap player said.