‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Dirk Kuyt had a hand in both Dutch goals, as the Dutch national team overcame the Czech Republic in Amsterdam Wednesday. So twenty-four hours later the Feyenoord striker was understandably upbeat about his performance. ‘I have to say that I have come away with a really good feeling about the week with the national squad. It was only a week, but I learned a lot. This success makes me hungry for more.’
After earning his first full cap in the encounter with Liechtenstein the striker found himself in the starting eleven against one of Europe’s premium footballing nations. But Kuyt’s World Cup campaign didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts. ‘The first ball that came to me was not the best, so I had to work hard to make something of it. I got hit in the face by my opponent and ended up with a bloody lip. I was off the pitch for a while, but I made a good recovered.’
Kuyt’s commitment and manoeuvrability were striking and allowed the Feyenoord forward to play a part in both Dutch goals. ‘It was a special feeling. But more than anything the success is a team performance. We all fought hard for a good result.’
Kuyt enjoyed renewing his partnership with Pierre van Hooijdonk, who he got to know during a few brief weeks in preseason last year. ‘I don’t know what it is but we just click. It’s always a pleasure to play with Pierre. We practiced specific situations all week and that enabled Pierre to score in the match, which is great. I’m able to say that I have come away with a really good feeling about the week with the national squad. It was only a week, but I learned a lot. You train and play at the highest level and you feel yourself getting better and stronger. And when you realise you can handle it, you get new confidence. I’ll certainly take that good feeling from Onange back to Feyenoord.’