Saturday 14 June 2008
Kuyt flying high on Dutch displays
Dirk Kuyt is revelling in the Netherlands' devastating displays at UEFA EURO 2008™ which have resulted in Marco van Basten's side marching into the quarter-finals after two games.
After helping create two goals in his the 3-0 defeat of Italy, the blond Liverpool FC striker sparked his side's 4-1 rout of France on Friday to clinch the Oranje's place in the last eight. "It's a great feeling to be a part of important moments in a match," said Kuyt, who headed the Dutch in front after nine minutes in Berne. "But the most beautiful thing is just to win two important matches such as these. It gives you a great feeling."
Prior to the tournament, Kuyt had expressed concerns he would not be in the squad, and then – having been selected – was not expected to feature in the starting XI. However, he began the opening game against the world champions and retained his place to face the French. "I have worked very hard to be at my best for this tournament and I am very happy to have been in the lineup twice," the 27-year-old told euro2008.com. "And when I can play an important role by giving assists and scoring goals, then I'm doubly satisfied."
The Dutch are already certain of topping Group C regardless of the result of their final game against Romania, and Kuyt said the squad believe this tournament could see them write the next glorious chapter in Dutch football history. "We feel it's possible for us to achieve something beautiful here," he said. "We have delivered two excellent performances, but we must now prepare for the next step. We all want to achieve something beautiful here, and I think can, but we should not look too far ahead yet."
While the Netherlands have impressed on the pitch, their massive orange-clad support has been equally breathtaking off it, filling the Stade de Suisse with vibrant noise and colour. Kuyt said he was delighted the players could repay the fans' support with victory, but added celebrations among the squad would be muted. "We are so focused on the matches that it is hard to imagine how it is for the people that are here to support us in Berne," said the former Feyenoord forward. "We really appreciate receiving so much support and that the Netherlands and Berne have been sent into raptures. We cannot experience all those celebrations, but that's OK. A lot of people would also love to be standing in our shoes right now."