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The Manchester United man struck twice against the world champions - including a candidate for goal of the tournament - as his side ran riot in their Group B opener

By Mark Doyle in Salvador

A euphoric Robin van Persie hailed an "unreal" performance from Netherlands after they trounced world champions Spain 5-1 in Friday's Group B opener.

Van Persie brought the Dutch level on 44 minutes with arguably the goal of the tournament so far after Xabi Alonso had given Spain the lead from the penalty spot, and the Manchester United man struck again after the interval.

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Arjen Robben also netted twice and Stefan de Vrij bundled home as Louis van Gaal's men ran riot in the second half, gaining sweet, if belated, revenge for their 2010 World Cup final defeat to the same opponents.

After the match Van Persie still appeared in disbelief at what his team had achieved and called on all his countrymen to celebrate an historic win. 

"This is unreal," he told NOS. "This is a dream come true for Netherlands. Sometimes inexplicable things happen. We must not forget that we only have three points. We must now continue. That is the reality.

"The whole country must enjoy this. I scored the equaliser in a perfect moment for us. We went to the dressing room with a good feeling. The 2-1 goal from Arjen Robben was scored in a fantastic moment.

"For them it was a huge blow. After that we continued. Often you stop after 3-1. But we kept going and going. All credit to the coach. These are his tactics. He already predicted how the match would go. Incredible.

"Everyone must enjoy this now. Tomorrow we will continue. Tomorrow we'll focus on Australia. Holland must party now. I can't wait to see those pictures. Have fun!"

 

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