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Netherlands news

Sneijder denies Van Persie rift

June 30, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Wesley Sneijder has dismissed suggestions that a rift has developed between himself and Netherlands team-mate Robin van Persie.

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Sneijder and Van Persie are believed to have a complicated relationship and one that may have been further strained by suggestions that when the Arsenal striker was substituted against Slovakia, he told coach Bert van Marwijk that it should have been the Inter Milan midfielder making way.

Van Persie did indulge in an angry outburst at Van Marwijk but subsequently claimed he said "nothing bad to the coach, nothing that could harm the squad."

It is a version of events that Sneijder has accepted ahead of Friday's World Cup quarter-final meeting with Brazil, and the playmaker has attempted to paint a picture of harmony in a Dutch side that has form for disagreements at major tournaments.

"Robin assured me that he had not said those words and I have no reason to doubt him," Sneijder said. "I don't have a problem with him and I never have done. He was disappointed to come off, that one can understand and it really isn't a serious matter.

"We will be united as never before against Brazil. We have already drawn a line under the last 16 match and we will be 120% raring to go against Brazil."

Netherlands were somewhat unimpressive when defeating Slovakia 2-1 in the second round and Van Persie's rant at Van Marwijk put the side under further scrutiny. But the coach believes suggestions of tension in the camp should be dropped after he called Van Persie and Sneijder in for clear-the-air talks.

"The meeting was to draw a line under the story and so we could now focus on the Brazil match," Van Marwijk said. "Robin played well against Slovakia, and was involved in the first goal. I was satisfied with his contribution but I needed to send on a fresh player who could continue to harry our opponents."