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Dirk Kuyt drops into defense as Dutch beat Chile

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm •  Published: June 23, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — To call Dirk Kuyt a utility player doesn't quite do the Fenerbahce forward justice.

On Monday, in his 99th international appearance for the Netherlands, he was playing at left back. For the first time.

No matter. The ever versatile 33-year-old fit right into his new role as he helped shut down Chile's free-flowing attack at the World Cup. The Dutch won 2-0 at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo to top Group B with a perfect record of three straight victories.

"I enjoyed it," Kuyt said. "I never played in this position but the coach told me a couple of weeks ago that it could be a possibility during the tournament and I told him that I would be ready for it and I was very happy I get the chance."

Kuyt has been a mainstay for the Netherlands team for years since making his debut nearly a decade ago.

He's played up front as a winger, striker and in midfield, famous for his work ethic and fitness.

That was part of the reason Van Gaal put him on the left of defense against Chile in a 5-3-2 formation.

"It's about having your team play according to its qualities," master tactician Louis van Gaal, the Dutch coach, said.

Kuyt gives him quality where ever he is on the pitch.

Van Gaal said he decided against playing the traditional 4-3-3 formation that for years was the bedrock of attacking Dutch "total football" because his forwards would then have to defend Chile's left and right backs and it would sap their energy.

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