Van Persie: Spain goal my best ever
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie has said the flying header with which he equalised in the stunning 5-1 win over defending champions Spain was his greatest-ever goal.
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Van Persie showed great agility as he dived to guide the ball over Iker Casillas and bring the Oranje level just before half-time in Friday's match in Salvador.
His goal paved the way for an astonishing second half in which Louis van Gaal's side struck four more times as the Spanish defence collapsed.
And in quotes reported by the Sun, Van Persie said: "It is the best goal of my career. It was a brilliant goal -- even I have to say that.
"I look at the occasion, and this was one of the biggest so far in my career. It was a bit of a gamble, but I spotted Casillas off his line before the cross came in. It was a header, but a lobbed header -- a great goal."
He said the moment comfortably eclipsed other memorable goals he had scored, including a thunderous volley at Charlton during his time as an Arsenal player.
"If I choose between the Charlton goal for Arsenal and this one, it is quite simple," the Manchester United forward said. "I have to choose this one because it's the World Cup and against the No. 1 team in the world for the last six years."
Describing the thrashing of Spain as "inexplicable and fantastic," he stressed: "We must also start thinking about Australia. It is only right to turn to the next game. These are three great points, but that is not enough to reach the next round."
Van Persie greeted his goal by rushing to the bench to high-five Van Gaal, and hailed the coach for the tactics that left Spain bemused.
"Louis spent weeks with us working hard on this tactic," he said. "Everything he said was realised in the game. That is almost unbelievable.
"That is why I wanted to sprint 50 yards to the bench to give him a massive high-five. He so deserved that.
"I wanted to share my emotions and celebration with him and the rest of the staff. We should be proud of each other. We scored five goals, but it could have been eight."
Meanwhile, former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, a member of FIFA's Technical Study Group, lavished praise on the goal as he spoke to reporters in Brazil.
"It was absolutely phenomenal," he said. "Everything about it from a technical point of view was at such high level. The way he watched the ball, the way he moved, a diving header, but more."