Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder claimed “too much long ball” saw his team struggle in the first half of their win over Chile.
Louis van Gaal’s Dutch team did not produce a shot on target in their first half against Chile but second-half goals to Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay saw the Netherlands triumph 2-0 in Sao Paulo, as they claimed top spot in Group B at the FIFA World Cup.
In the second half at Arena Corinthians, the Netherlands notched four shots on target, including their two goals, as they attempted 98 short passes, compared to only 75 before the break.
Sneijder felt that his team-mates’ reliance on long passing in the first half meant he barely saw the ball and the statistics backed him up, with the attacking midfielder passing just six times in the opening 45 minutes, while he attempted 13 after half-time before being substituted for Fer in the 75th minute.
“The first half went all over me. We were playing too much long ball,” the Galatasaray man told NOS.
“The Chileans also made it difficult but we (still) created the best chances in the first half.
“We had a little more composure in our game in the second half. Chile wanted to be first, so there was more space. With our offensive power, it is then bingo.”
Sneijder’s attacking team-mate Arjen Robben, who set up Depay’s goal in second-half stoppage time, conceded he had not expected the Netherlands to start the World Cup so strongly, with the Dutch winning all three games in Group B to finish ahead of Chile, Spain and Australia.
“If you told me that we’d win our three games to finish top of the group two months ago I’d have been delighted but I don’t want to end it here,” the Bayern Munich winger said.
“We want to go on. Although we want to enjoy the moment, we’ll soon need to start to work hard in training to improve even more.
“You have to give compliment to both teams, both gave 100 per cent today. We defended really well and although Chile finished second I think they go far in this tournament.”
The Netherlands will play Mexico in the round of 16, while Chile face hosts Brazil.