Rafael van der Vaart feels the time has come for Netherlands to fulfil their potential and lift a major title.
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The Dutch were beaten by Spain in the World Cup final two years ago, an effort which confirmed their status as being among the global elite. With coach Bert van Marwijk able to call on players of the calibre of Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, the Oranje are among the favourites for glory in Poland and Ukraine.
Tottenham midfielder Van der Vaart is brimming with confidence ahead of their Euro 2012 opener with Denmark, telling uefa.com: “The Euro will be a success for us when we win it. You have to say that out loud as well, because saying things like 'a semi-final is nice'… No, we were finalists in the World Cup, so we also need to have the highest ambition now."
At 29, Van der Vaart is arguably at the peak of his powers – as are the likes of Van Persie (28), Robben (28) and Sneijder (27). With this in mind, the midfielder feels the Dutch are at a stage where they must seize their chance.
"It's also a case of being the ideal age now," he said. "I won't say it's now or never, but it's certainly a moment that you could describe as, 'if you can do it now, then it should definitely happen.'"
The Dutch face no easy task, being drawn in the same group as Germany, Portugal and Denmark and Van der Vaart knows an early slip could prove fatal.
He said: "At a World Cup, it's a bit easier because sometimes you play against a couple of teams in the group stage when you don't have to be at 100%, and you have some time to grow into a tournament like that. But when you are in a group with Germany, Portugal and also Denmark – because many people forget that they are also very strong – then you have to be ready from the first minute onwards."