||ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Van Marwijk happy to win ugly
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk was satisfied with his team's performance after their narrow 1-0 win over Japan in Durban.
• Bouwes: Not-so total football
• Japan Blog: Not a bad result
• Photo gallery
Wesley Sneijder's solitary goal was the difference between the two sides in their second Group E match. The Inter Milan winger had fortune on his side with his stinging drive parried by Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima into his own net.
"I would love to win playing beautiful football but you have to deal with a rival that also wants to win," said Van Marwijk. "I think we played a match that was perhaps not as attractive as our previous games but it's not easy to play matches here and I think we deserved the win."
The Blue Samurai frustrated Netherlands, who had just one shot on goal in the opening half despite dominating possession.
"At this level, you see that no match is straightforward as has also been the case for other teams like England and Spain," said Van Marwijk. "Of course, we want to win playing great football but the important thing is that we learn to win ugly games.
"Japan were very confident heading into this match and I knew beforehand that this was going to be a hard game. In the first half, we went for depth but we didn't get the ball to our forwards.
"At half-time I told my players they had to be careful. We needed to speed up our game and be opportunistic. I believe we did that in the second half."
Van Marwijk's side top Group E and are on the verge of clinching qualification to the second round.
"The important thing is that we have two wins out of two from our group so far," he said. "We have shown stability and we haven't given away a goal, which is important."
Japan coach Takeshi Okada refused to blame Kawashima for his part in the Dutch goal.
"Sneijder's goal was a good strike," he said. "It was a powerful shot. But that was the difference between the two sides."
Okada, whose side beat Cameroon in their World Cup opener, was nevertheless pleased with his team's effort.
"We played against a strong team and we wanted to have taken at least a point in this game," he said. "But my players did the best they could and we feel sorry for our fans.
"During the first half we frustrated Holland and I told my players to be courageous and aggressive when we have the ball. That is what they did. But we weren't able to deliver the finishing touch."