The incoming Manchester United manager admitted that he didn't think his team would have humiliated Vicente del Bosque's men in such an emphatic way
By Mark Doyle in Salvador
Louis van Gaal admitted he never even dreamed that Netherlands were capable of utterly humiliating Spain 5-1 in Friday's Group B opener.
Xabi Alonso's penalty gave Vicente del Bosque's men the lead after 27 minutes but an incredible Robin van Persie header levelled the score before the break.
The Manchester United striker netted once more in the second half in between two Arjen Robben goals while Stefan de Vrij bundled another over the line as the Dutch ran riot against La Roja.
And after the match Van Gaal admitted that it was a result that no one would have seen coming.
"The best moment was on the pitch. Everyone was so happy on the field. No one dared to dream this," he told NOS.
"In the dressing room there was a speech from the captain [Van Persie] and from Sneijder.
"I never thought it would go like this. After the penalty from Spain I thought 'will it be a night like this? That the world champions would win like that?'.
"I was already thinking about what I would do at half-time. If it was still 1-0 at the break, I would play 4-3-3 to keep the pressure on the ball.
"But then Robin scored. He headed that ball with so much feeling. He knew it before. He saw the goalkeeper standing too far in front of his goal. It was a beautiful goal."
After scoring the equaliser, Van Persie ran over to the technical area to give Van Gaal a high five and afterwards the coach spoke of his admiration for the player.
"It's fantastic a player does that," he added. "It's a sign of appreciation, which is mutual."
Despite their perfect start, Van Gaal was also at pains to warn his players that there remains plenty to do if they are to reach the knockout stages and live up to their opening performance.
"We still have nothing," he insisted. "This is a good start. If we don't beat Australia, we have nothing. If we do beat them then we have a good start.
"We also have to play Chile. I said before we could beat Spain because they always want to attack. Spain always want to dominate.
"I wanted that also for 20 years. But you can't always attack. You must look at the players you have."