Five Dutch players with outside interests
Paris: Footballers have been accused of being solely focused on their sport but here AFP Sport highlights five of the Dutch squad, who face Argentina in their World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, who have time for other matters whether it be hobbies or charity work:
Charity flies under Kuyt
As selfless off the pitch as he is on it he and his wife Gertrude, a former nurse, set up the Dirk Kuyt Foundation for homeless children in 2006. One project coincidentally was to help street children in Brazil while another was to build a home for children with HIV in Nepal. "I just like to make people happy. And for me it`s just a small thing. With my name in football I can reach a lot of people and together we can do something great for all these children," the 34-year-old told the Liverpool Echo in 2012.
Robin van Persie
Gloria in Excelsior
Van Persie eschewed the arty lifestyle of his parents, his father is a sculptor and his mother designs jewellery, and instead specialised in the art of scoring which he has become rather good at. However he has not forgotten his roots totally and has been generous in providing funds for the youth academy at Excelsior, the Rotterdam club where he first started as a child, as well as donating kit for the teams from Under 5s to Under 9s. Excelsior have named a stand after their most famous child and the love-in saw the 30-year-old pay them a fulsome tribute in an inscription that hangs in the bar: "I try to give to football what it gives me, love. Thanks for the beautiful years and for the base to start my career. Robin van Persie."
Sneijder`s boxing clever
The 30-year-old Galatasaray playmaker resorted to a far from obvious solution when Louis van Gaal dropped him from the squad during the league season because of a disastrous loss of form. Sneijder exploited his love of Thai kick boxing by getting back into shape with European champion Gokhan Saki and did not regret it. "It was explosive training. It has made me more explosive over the first few metres. I feel that I have benefited from it," he said. Saki proved to be so successful that he travelled to Brazil so as Sneijder didn`t go off the boil.
Robben can`t find fault with tennis
For a player who has a tendency to dive or as he puts it fall on the pitch it may come as no surprise that he loves to play tennis when he wants to relax. While hard courts would probably deter him from tumbling dramatically onto the ground the grass courts present an ideal opportunity. The 30-year-old said in an interview before the finals that if he had a chance for some down time that is exactly what he would be doing. "I love playing tennis. It`s one of my favourite hobbies. If I need to let off steam at the World Cup I might find a tennis court and have a couple of rallies. I could really develop my game, and become a master of all surfaces!"
Klaas Jan Huntelaar
Huntelaar the fisherman`s friend
The moody striker, who seems to be keeping a lid on his fragile temperament during these finals unlike at Euro 2012 when he sulked his way through them because of being left out at the expense of Robin van Persie, is a keen fisherman. The way he handled the long wait before taking the match-winning penalty against Mexico suggests that the many hours waiting for the fish to take the bait have been well spent.