RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Robin van Persie and his Dutch teammates were applauded out onto their training pitch on Saturday by a group of local kids who snapped close-up pictures of the World Cup's men of the moment.
The Netherlands have been soaking up the praise from young and old across Brazil and the football world after a stunning 5-1 demolition of defending champion Spain in the Group B opener on Friday night in Salvador.
Van Persie, Arjen Robben and other players who started the rout of the world and European champions carried out light jogging drills at the start of the session at local club Flamengo's training facility in Rio de Janeiro. They then lay on the sidelines stretching and using exercise bikes as the rest of the squad went through shooting drills and played a practice match.
After being greeted by the applause and excited whoops from the red-shirted children, the squad huddled around coach Louis van Gaal for a team talk. Van Persie, who scored twice against Spain, including a spectacular header, walked over to the youngsters, said "hi," and gave them all a high five at the start of the relaxed workout. The kids crowded around the Manchester United forward to take videos and photos on their phones.
Robben, who also scored twice on Friday, Bruno Martins Indi, Daley Blind, Wesley Sneijder and Nigel de Jong all took it easy on the sidelines alongside Van Persie as Van Gaal opted to mostly rest his first-choice lineup on a warm day in Rio.
The Netherlands plays Australia next in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.