Robin van Persie scored the finest goal of the World Cup so far but it was also a superb evening overall for the young players currently being linked to a move to Manchester United.
Daley Blind, Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi all made their mark on what was a extraordinary evening for Holland, and a tantalising glimpse of how Van Gaal may be able to lift the cloud still hovering over Old Trafford.
It was a game of total domination by Van Gaal’s side and on that evidence, United fans probably wouldn’t mind their new manager bringing along the tea lady if it means they’ll play like that.
Daley Blind, linked with a move by the Daily Express last month, was magnificent. His was the 45-yard pinpoint ball for Van Persie’s majestic header and he also set up Arjen Robben for Holland’s second goal. The 24-year-old had complete control over Spain’s right flank and will left Cesar Azpilacueta on the verge of tears.
The Feyenoord centre-halves De Vrij and Martins Indi, both strongly linked over the summer, were both a key part of Van Gaal’s five man defence, lining up either side of Ron Vlaar to make up Holland’s defensive core.
De Vrij’s evening did not start well. Just on the half hour, the defender chose to go to ground in his penalty area, tripping Diego Costa with his trailing leg. There was some debate as to whether Costa had initiated contact with the centre half’s ankle but de Vrij should have stayed on his feet and it cost his side the lead.
Despitethat, the 22-year-old, who along with Martins Indi have been heavily linked for much of the summer, recovered well from the setback and later rose to head Holland’s third goal past Iker Casillas.
Martins Indi’s physicality was his most eye-catching trait, strongarming Diego Costa on a couple of occasions and producing a display of calmness and authority.
It clearly got under the Spaniard’s skin – Costa was fortunate to escape punishment after a petulant headbutt on the 22-year-old early in the second half. It is to Martins Indi’s credit that Costa was withdrawn after 60 minutes, unable to make a further impact.
It capped a miserable night for the Chelsea striker who was forced to watch his side dismantled over the next half hour but it was a wonderful evening for Holland, and one full of promise for United fans.