On this day in 2014: Robin van Persie's iconic flying header vs Spain at the 2014 World Cup


Despite suffering heartache in yet another major final last weekend, the Netherlands are undoubtedly experiencing a resurgence right now.

That revival is thanks, in part, to the stewardship of Ronald Koeman. 

However, it's also down to a host of promising young talent, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong to name but two. 

Whatever your opinion of Dutch football over the last few years, Russia 2018 was a poorer place without the national side.

Their absence came as a particular shock because they had fared so well at the previous two World Cups. 

In 2010, they reached the final under Bert van Marwijk, but ultimately lost 1-0 to Spain as Andres Iniesta scored in extra time. 

Four years later, they had the chance to avenge that defeat when they faced La Roja in their opening game out in Brazil. 

Spain v Netherlands: Group B - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

It looked as though they would be robbed of that revenge when Xabi Alonso scored from the spot inside the first half an hour. 

Yet that was before Robin van Persie, with the clock ticking down in the first half, turned into Superman and sailed through the air, getting a perfect connection on the header and making it 1-1. 

The then-Manchester United striker struck again later on and was joined on the scoresheet by Arjen Robben, who netted a brace, and Stefan de Vrij. 

The Netherlands would go on to reach the semi-finals, where they lost on penalties to eventual runners-up Argentina following a goalless draw. 

And van Persie bowed out of the World Cup with the opener in a 3-0 victory over a shellshocked Brazil - fresh off the back of their infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany - in the third-place playoff. 

The forward retired from football last month, his final game coming in Feyenoord's 2-0 defeat to ADO Den Haag. 

He remains the highest-scoring Dutchman in Premier League history, with 144 goals in 280 appearances.

Where does RVP rank among the greatest PL strikers? Have your say in the comments. 

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