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RVP in doubt for opening match

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Friday, June 06, 2014

AMSTERDAM — Robin van Persie has handed the Netherlands a fitness worry ahead of the World Cup after the Manchester United striker picked up a groin problem in Wednesday's 2-0 friendly win over Wales in Amsterdam.

Van Persie appeared to be in pain and held his groin when he left the pitch at half-time and Dutch coach Louis van Gaal took no risks over the fitness of his star striker as the 30-year-old was immediately replaced by Jeremain Lens.

Now Van Gaal, whose 23-man squad fly out to Rio de Janiero on Thursday, will be praying that his captain can recover from the injury scare to participate in the Netherlands' World Cup opener against reigning champions Spain in Salvador on June 13.

Before his half-time departure, Van Persie set up Arjen Robben for the opening goal in the 32nd minute of the friendly at the Amsterdam Arena.

Robben then turned provider to allow substitute Lens to double the Dutch side's advantage by tapping home from close-range on 76 minutes.

Prior to kick-off, there was great colour and noise inside the national stadium to create a party atmosphere as the Dutch public waved farewell to their stars before the World Cup.

Manchester United manager-in-waiting Van Gaal had played a formation of 5-3-2 versus Ghana at the weekend, but the 62-year-old demonstrated his flexibility by changing his style to a 4-4-2 diamond against Chris Coleman's side.

Wales were without Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams while five of Coleman's starting line-up had not played for a month since the Championship season ended.





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