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Van Persie ban unwanted bonus for flying Dutch

COMMENT: When Netherlands trounced Spain in that opening 5-1 World Cup triumph, Manchester United striker Robin van Persie inspired the attacking flow of the Dutch and bombarded Spain with a brace.

Then yesterday against Australia, he again was on the scoresheet and secured his country's passage to the round of sixteen.

Van Persie played as the target man against Australia, but was almost overshadowed by Australia's Tim Cahill, whose equaliser was a first time volley reminiscent of the goal that Van Persie scored against Aston Villa to win United the Premier League in 2013.

And when Mile Jedinak dispatched a penalty to give the Socceroos the lead, the Dutch were free falling - but then their captain pulled the parachute cord and equalised by drifting into the box and powerfully scoring the equaliser after Memphis Depay played him in. Depay would then go onto win the match for Holland by curling home the winner from long range.

In his current mood, Van Persie should instill fear into all defences left in the World Cup. Off the back of a disappointing campaign for United, where we only saw glimpses of his clinical best due to injury, Van Persie has answered all doubts about his form and fitness with his performances in the famous Oranje. He's formed a deadly combination with compatriots Robben and Wesley Sneijder in qualifying, and they have continued their lethal linkup in the first two matches. The terrific trio have been a highlight of the tournament so far, but it will be just Robben and Sneijder against Chile next week.

Being the man with the armband and having led the Netherlands surprise package so far, when Van Persie received his second yellow card of the tournament he must have been heartbroken.

One point away from finishing at the summit of group B, the United striker will be biting his nails when he watches from the stands and prays one of his compatriots plants the flag at the top of their group.

Having scored for fun in his last international matches, Louis Van Gaal can't replace Van Persie as he is one of a kind.

The only positive is he will be fully fit for their first round of sixteen match, much to the dismay of whoever the Dutch will face in the knockout stages.

About the author

Julian Boland

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