Mon, May 19, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Van Persie saves Dutch in Rio test

AFP, AMSTERDAM

Robin van Persie scored a spectacular goal on Saturday to give the Netherlands a 1-1 draw against Ecuador in their FIFA World Cup warm-up match.

The Manchester United striker, who has been plagued by injury in recent weeks, found the net after 37 minutes when he controlled the ball with his chest before smashing an impressive volley past Ecuador goalkeeper Maximo Banguera.

The South American side, who like the Dutch squad are preparing for the start of world soccer’s elite tournament on June 12 in Brazil, took a ninth-minute lead when Jefferson Montero beat Jasper Cillessen in the Dutch goal.

Van Persie’s goal will have given an added boost to Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who is widely tipped to be named as Manchester United’s new manager in the coming days.

“I have played just twice in the last three games in the Premier League — half an hour and 67 minutes,” said Van Persie, who has been battling a knee injury.

“I am missing some rhythm, but I have completely recovered,” the Dutch striker added.

The Netherlands took the opportunity to have a look at the depth of their squad on Saturday, since many of their first choices were all unavailable.

These included AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong, fellow midfielder Wesley Sneijder of Galatasaray, Hamburg SV captain Rafael van der Vaart, Bayern Munich striker Arjen Robben and Jeremain Lens of Dynamo Kiev.

The Dutch side are in Group B at the World Cup along with defending champions Spain, as well as Chile and Australia.

Ecuador are to play in Group E, where they will face Switzerland, France and Honduras.

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