Holland coach Marco van Basten praised his side’s battling spirit after the 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast secured the Dutch a place in the next round.
“We started very well but after that it became difficult,” admitted van Basten. “In the second half we could only defend.”
“It was a very difficult match because Ivory Coast have a very good team, but I must pay a compliment to my players because they fought right to the end.
“We’ll take it step by step. We’ll see how it goes against Argentina next.”
Robin van Persie, who opened the scoring against the Ivory Coast, said the players shoul proud of reaching the knockout stages.
“We worked hard,” said van Persie. “We played well at times, we should be proud that we reached the next round.
But midfielder Mark van Bommel was more critical of his side’s performance.
“Until leading 2-0 we had played well, then we lost it,” he said.
“We played badly but we have to learn from it. Ivory Coast were strong opponents. They were always dangerous.”