‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
With his goal for the Netherlands against Spain last Friday Stefan de Vrij joined a select group of Feyenoord players. The defender is the fourth player from the club to score for Oranje at a World Cup, alongside Theo de Jong, Gaston Taument and Giovanni van Bronckhorst. De Vrij netted the third goal in the 5-1 drubbing of the World Champions.
Theo de Jong was the first Feyenoord player to score at World Cup back in 1974. The midfielder came off the bench to grab the fourth in a 4-1 rout of Bulgaria in a group match in then West Germany. Twenty years later Gaston Taument nodded a later winner against Saudi Arabia at the 1994 finals in the USA.
Player number three was Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who scored in the semi-final against Uruguay in South Africa in 2010. Van Bronckhorst’s goal was a long-distance effort into the far top corner in a 3-2 win. ‘The world stopped when my shot flew in the top corner against Uruguay,’ Van Bronckhorst told Feyenoord Magazine last month. ‘The stadium almost exploded with joy, but I didn’t hear or see anything for a couple of seconds. Every footballer dreams of scoring a goal at such a time at a World Cup.’
When the Uruguay match was played (6 July 2010) Van Bronckhorst was no longer officially under contract as a player for Feyenoord, as his contract ended on 1 July. He did rejoin the club a little later as assistant coach, a role he continues to fulfil at De Kuip.
De Vrij and the other four Feyenoorders in the Dutch squad are now looking forward to the second match in the group stage. Louis van Gaal’s men take on Australia on Wednesday. The Socceroos lost their opening fixture against Chile 3-1.