The Netherlands meet England at Wembley tomorrow, and a draw will ensure that both sides go through from Group A to the quarter-finals. But while Hiddink was bored by the opening 45 minutes, he admitted he had been hugely impressed by England's remarkable improvement after the break.
"I loved the atmosphere and the crowd was tremendously enthusiastic," the Dutch coach said. "But I think everybody would agree that the first half was very poor. England, though, managed to change things. They stepped up their game into second or third gear and it was a totally different England. They showed us that we have to be very alert because they are a team who proved that they can react after a poor half."
Hiddink, who declared the furore following the sending home of midfielder Edgar Davids "a closed case", was particularly impressed by Steve McManaman and Paul Gascoigne. "McManaman played in the way we have seen him perform for Liverpool," he said. "He is the kind of player who will take on his marker and can also start moves and get the team going.
"Gascoigne certainly picked the right moment to score. The ball inside from Darren Anderton was played into his run, but his touch over the head of Colin Hendry was excellent and then he didn't hesitate. It was a brilliant goal."
Hiddink anticipates that England will revert to four at the back against his team and promised that the Netherlands would be going out for a win. "I don't think it is in the character of either ourselves or England to settle for a nice draw," he said.
Dennis Bergkamp, the Netherlands' Arsenal striker, said: "England want to win because it is at Wembley and it would be humiliating for them if we turned them off their own pitch and made them play at Liverpool in the quarter-finals. But I want to stay at Wembley as well. We are settled at our hotel and we want to stay here."
The Bulgarian striker Emil Kostadinov has little chance of playing against France at St James' Park tomorrow. The striker has a hamstring injury and has been to hospital for X-rays.
Uefa has admitted that the "goal" Romania scored, but which was not given, in their 1-0 defeat by Bulgaria appeared to have crossed the line. However, European football's governing body said it was not possible to change a referee's decision.Reuse content