Football

Robben best in the world

Flying winger reignites Dutch dream of ending their World Cup misery

Former Holland midfield star Willy van de Kerkhof believes Arjen Robben is better than Lionel Messi.

The Dutch speed merchant has scored three goals, and set up one, to lead his side to the top of Group B by beating Spain, Chile and Australia.

Louis van Gaal's men have set up a Round of 16 clash with Mexico, and while the Central Mexicans are no pushovers, it does look as if the Dutch are on a roll and are not afraid of anyone.

If they are to do so, then Robben will have to continue to play at his current level, which van de Kerkhof believes, shows that he is the world's best footballer.

Speaking after the team's 2-0 victory over Chile yesterday morning (Singapore time), he said: "The first half against Chile was not great, but in the last 20 minutes came the incomparable Arjen Robben.

"He is head and shoulders above the rest. He is better than Messi, for example."

Late goals from Leroy Fer and Memphis Depay, who toe-poked home Robben's cross, downed Chile in Sao Paulo.

The Dutch also thrashed 2010 champions Spain 5-1 and overcame Australia 3-2 to raise hopes they could finally go all the way and win their first World Cup.

Van de Kerkhof, part of the Holland side who were runners-up at the 1978 World Cup, expressed his pride at the fact the team had finished as group winners with a 100 per cent winning record."Look, we have beaten Spain and Chile, so you have to say that you belong in among the stronger countries. But we will soon have to face countries like Argentina, France or Germany. "Holland, in any case, are in a winning mood, it's a great phase. So let's get on with it."

While it's not quite clear yet how this Holland incarnation will stack up to their 2010 counterparts who finished runners-up to Spain, it has already become obvious Robben is playing better than ever.

In their opening match of the 2014 Finals in Brazil against Spain, Robben contributed two goals.

In that same match, ESPNFC.com clocked Robben at 37km/h for one run, the fastest in history by a footballer.

Fifa's official records confirmed that Robben eclipsed a record held by England's Theo Walcott, who had been clocked at 35.7km/h.

The quickest speed ever recorded by a human was Usain Bolt's 44.72km/h that came between the 60m mark and 80m mark in the final of the 100m World Championship in Berlin 2009, when the Jamaican superstar set a new world record of 9.58sec.

At the age of 30, Robben is peaking during this World Cup, terrifying defences with his eye-raising pace and dribbling skills.

Never has he played as well as he has done for the national team and he warned there was more to come.

"If you told me that we'd win our three games to finish top of the group two months ago, I'd have been delighted, but I don't want to end it here. We want to go on," said Robben.

"Although we want to enjoy the moment we'll soon need to start to work hard in training to improve even more."

Taking himself and his team to new heights, Robben must be feeling like he's standing on top of a mountain.

Never mind Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: So far, Robben has outclassed them both. - Wire Services.

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