Raul impressed by Netherlands and Robben

The Real Madrid legend has hailed Louis van Gaal's side as the best European nation at the World Cup
Raul believes the Netherlands have been Europe’s top performers at the World Cup, and picked out Arjen Robben as a "highlight of the tournament".

The Dutch have a 100% record in their four games at the tournament so far, leading the scoring charts with 12 goals, and Raul sees Louis Van Gaal’s side as Europe’s best hope in Brazil.

“The Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium have made the (quarter-final) cut, and it's fair to say that the Dutch have been the most impressive European teams in Brazil,” said Raul, speaking in his Times of India column.

“Barring the controversy over the winning goal against Mexico that came from a penalty, the Dutch have had a relatively smooth campaign.

“Van Persie has scored goals but Robben has been a standout performer. Three goals, that pace, ball control and the ability to change the course of a game, along with the admission that he dives has been a highlight of the tournament.”

However, the Spaniard believes the Netherlands’ quarter final opponents, Costa Rica, can prove more than just a tricky tie.

He added: “In Costa Rica, they can expect stiff resistance. There are concerns in defence as well as in midfield in the absence of [Nigel] De Jong.

“Mexico challenged them (Netherlands) by playing an open game and for a long period, they were under pressure. The Netherlands and Colombia are the only teams to have done it four times in 90 minutes so far."

The 37-year-old also spoke of his intrigue over the all-European tie between Germany and Didier Deschamps’ "transformed" French side.

“Joachim Low's Germany started with a bang, and although the goals dried up after that, they have shown that they can adapt to different situations,” said the former Schalke forward.

“Didier Deschamps has transformed the French into a closely knit unit and his decision to omit Samir Nasri stands vindicated. They have been one of the best all-round sides with reliable players in every department.

“They have power and mobility in the midfield, and their forwards showed against Nigeria that they can toil if they get stuck. To win close games, one needs character and this French lot have shown that.”