Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder credited prime fitness levels for his influential display in the 5-1 thrashing of Spain.
Louis van Gaal’s team produced the sensation of the opening round of FIFA World Cup games as they put the reigning champions to the sword in Salvador.
Playing behind dynamic forward duo Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben and ahead of the midfield base provided by Nigel de Jong and Jonathan de Guzman, Sneijder covered more than 10 kilometres during the game as a tireless Dutch side overturned Spain’s first-half control in thrilling fashion.
“Because Spain (play) with two (holding) midfielders played alongside each other, (Sergio) Busquets and Xabi Alonso, I had considerable distances (to cover) if they had the ball,” Sneijder was quoted as saying by AD.nl.
“In collaboration with Nigel and Jonathan we (concentrated) closely because obviously (there are) many Spaniards that switch positions.
“Yet I still had the strength to be valuable in possession. That’s a good feeling.
“I’m fit, as everyone can see, so I have the strength to do both.”
Indeed, Sneijder combined his impressive workrate with the kind of playmaking quality that has become his trademark, picking up two assists during a rampant second-half showing.
“With two assists against Spain, you will not hear me complaining,” said the Galatasaray midfielder before acknowledging the value of his on-field understanding with Robben, who like Van Persie helped himself to a brace.
“We know each other so well that we do not even have to think. Arjen knows exactly when to run, I know how to (make) such a ball fall at such time.
“Really, I enjoy such assists as much as a goal that I score myself.”
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