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Netherlands news

Van Marwijk: Dutch must show courage

July 10, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Bert van Marwijk has urged Netherlands to "have the courage" to go toe-to-toe with Spain, and says his team are full of belief ahead of Sunday's World Cup final.

Bert van Marwijk leads training on Saturday
GettyImagesBert van Marwijk leads training on Saturday

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Spain are widely regarded as favourites to secure their first ever World Cup triumph and are masters of the passing game. Indeed, Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel has said Netherlands must "break" the midfield stranglehold usually imposed by Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso.

But Van Marwijk is confident of the ability of his own team, who have defeated Slovakia, Brazil and Uruguay in the knockout stages to reach their first World Cup final since 1974.

"They have to be themselves and have to have the courage to play football against Spain," Van Marwijk said. "They are two of the best teams and I emphasise the word 'team'.

"We beat Brazil and Spain beat Germany. Spain have played more attractive football than we have but the teams have the intention to play in the same way. Both teams have their own style but they resemble each other. I'm not going to tell you how I'm going to play. We just have to be ourselves.

"Spain is the best football country of the last few years. Scoring goals is unimportant now. This is a new match, a special match. We have lots of players who can score a goal and so do Spain. We have got to believe in ourselves and not be afraid. We are convinced we can win."

Netherlands' chances of defeating Vicente del Bosque's side have increased following the news that playmaker and top scorer Wesley Sneijder is fit to feature in Johannesburg.

The Inter Milan star, who has scored five goals in South Africa, had been struggling with a calf problem following the semi-final victory over Uruguay but Van Marwijk said on Saturday: "Everyone is fully fit."