The Netherlands’ brand of ‘Total Football’ came to the fore on Saturday, as all 11 players played their part in an opening goal billed as one of the best of the World Cup so far. To top off the evening, a video then went viral of the squad dancing their way into the team hotel as they celebrated a quarter-final place.
Memphis Depay scored the opener in the last 16 clash against the USA, a move which consisted of 20 uninterrupted passes and the most on record for the Dutch at a World Cup since 1966.
Depay’s superb 10th-minute strike paved the way for a 3-1 win as Louis van Gaal’s side became the first nation into the World Cup quarter-finals, setting up an encounter against Argentina, who beat Australia 2-1.
In what must rank as one of the best moves of the tournament thus far - one featuring every Dutch player - Virgil van Dijk and Frenkie de Jong got the ball rolling from the back before a slick passage of one-touch passing saw Denzel Dumfries - named after American actor Denzel Washington - lay up an unmarked Depay, who finished into the bottom corner.
Dumfries then set up for Daley Blind before scoring a superb volley and was named man of the match.
"This is a result that gives us incredible confidence,” said Van Gaal.
“They were fantastic goals, they had a beauty about them, but they were also team goals.”
Former Liverpool player turned TV pundit Jamie Carragher wrote on social media: "Total football! What a goal from Holland."
Meanwhile, broadcaster Piers Morgan was also moved to write: "What a goal by the Netherlands.. best of the World Cup so far."
Following victory, the Dutch football federation posted a video of the squad arriving back at the team hotel, which saw the squad in celebratory mood, followed by Van Gaal in fine spirits as he recorded the moment.
"LVG drinking in his last few moments in the beautiful game, top tier legend," was one of the comments on social media.
The Netherlands are aiming to win their first World Cup after losing in three previous finals, while Saturday’s win secured their seventh quarter-final berth since 1974.
Van Gaal, who leaves as head coach after the World Cup following his third spell, said the Oranje have “big chances” to taste World Cup glory in Qatar.
“We still have three matches to go. I’ve been talking about this for a year," he told reporters. “We can become world champions – not that we will – but we can.
"I am talking about team-bonding, how we can build the strongest possible team and I derive pleasure from the group of players and, of course, performances and results.”
Despite their passing ability against the USA, Van Gaal did usher a word of warning ahead of the last eight.
“We also lost a lot of ball possession, and it is not acceptable at a World Cup, especially if you are playing a top-level team,” added Van Gaal.
“But we always want to improve and, since the start of the tournament, it's been getting better and better with each game."
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