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Netherlands v Japan

Van Marwijk expecting stiffer test

June 18, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk expects a more aggressive Japan to turn up for their Group E clash on Saturday than when the sides met in a friendly last year.

Bert Van Marjwik Netherlands training
GettyImagesBert Van Marjwik is not expecting an easy ride against Japan

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Van Marjwik's side demolished the Blue Samurai 3-0 last October, courtesy of goals from Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

And after an impressive display in their 2-1 victory over Denmark, the Oranje go into Saturday's match as overwhelming favourites.

But having watched an efficient Japan side overcome Cameroon 1-0 in their opening game, Van Marjwik revealed he is taking nothing for granted.

"This is going to be a tougher fight,'' Van Marwijk said. "Both teams want to win and both sides won their first match.

"We cannot compare that game to this one. "I expect a very aggressive Japan and we are prepared for everything and anything.''

Van Marwijk believes Japan have improved since then and that was evident in their 1-0 triumph over Cameroon.

"They have progressed a lot,'' he said. "They have been together for a long time and have played lots of matches.

"They have been looking for some time to find a style of play which they didn't have in qualifying. But they appear to have found that style.

"I have a lot of respect for the Japan coach and his team and we will not be underestimating them.''

Van Marwijk believes the Oranje must focus on themselves and not on their rivals.

"People who know me know that I concentrate on my team and I don't make adjustments based on our rivals,'' he said. "We have to play the way we know how and make the most of our chances.''

Netherlands will have plenty of support in Durban with thousands of fans having travelled to South Africa while there is plenty of optimism back home regarding the team's chances to go far in the tournament.

"We hear a lot about the atmosphere back in Holland and this is great,'' Van Marwijk said. "We also have lots of fans here and it's wonderful that they have travelled such a long way to support us. But we have a long way to go and the most important thing is tomorrow's match.''

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben trained with the team for the first time on Friday after sitting out the match against Denmark with a hamstring injury. Whether Robben will be given playing time against Japan, remains to be seen.

"It's quite something that he trained with us today,'' Van Marwijk said. "But we have to wait and see how he responds tomorrow.''

Dirk Kuyt, who scored his team's second against Denmark, is set to start against Japan and the Liverpool striker is looking forward to adding to his goal tally.

"Tomorrow we are going to win,'' he said. "We know they are a strong side and the last time we faced them, they made us work hard, especially in the first half. But lots of players eat sushi in our team and we hope we will have them for dinner tomorrow.''