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Holland looks to develop youngsters for future

MUMBAI: Holland exited the soccer World Cup after losing to Argentina in a penalty shootout during their semi-final clash.

Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt and Nigel de Jong form part of a select group of players who have finished among the top four at two consecutive World Cups.

Speaking to Fifa.com, Patrick Kluivert, an assistant of Louis van Gaal’s and a member of the Holland side in the late 1990s and early 2000s, said, “It’s a very good generation. A defining one, even. I just hope that the Netherlands can nurture more like them in the future. That’s the most important thing: to continue developing talented youngsters so that we can carry on competing at the highest level.”

Contemplating the fact that the veterans may well have played their last World Cup, Kluivert said: “Obviously, it’s a massive disappointment for them. It’s very hard to imagine them playing in the world finals again. With this probably being their last, you can understand their dejection at getting so close to another final. Losing on penalties makes it even tougher, as I know from experience.”

The most critical of Dutch fans will now say that the team have come up short again, though the reality is that few expected them to go so far this time. “I don’t know what to say about all that. All I can say is that they did a great job. Nobody thought they could achieve all this,” added Kluivert.

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