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van Marwijk urges Holland to erase complacency

Dirk Kuyt on Tuesday hailed Holland's achievement in reaching the World Cup final after 32 years as "unreal" but urged his team-mates not to squander the opportunity to claim the trophy for the first time in the country's history.
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Mmegi Online :: van Marwijk urges Holland to erase complacency








The Liverpool forward contributed at each end of the pitch as the Dutch edged out Uruguay here [at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa], setting up Arjen Robben's third before scrambling the ball clear in the final seconds to preserve his side's 3-2 advantage. "It's an amazing feeling, almost unreal," he said. "We said before the tournament started that we could do this and get to the final. But we knew it would be a long journey. Now we are so close to the dream.

We just have to keep going. Holland have been in two finals before but have not managed to go the extra yard and win it. Now we have the chance and to win the World Cup would be unbelievable, a dream come true for me."

Those sentiments were shared by his team-mate, Wesley Sneijder, whose recent haul of trophies with Internazionale - the midfielder claimed the Coppa Italia, the Serie A title and the Champions League last season - would be eclipsed should his team win the World Cup. "This is unforgettable," he said. "I played in big finals last season for my club, but nothing is better than this tournament. We've got to savour this, enjoy it, and then give everything we have to claim the trophy on Sunday."

A collision with Spain or Germany awaits in Johannesburg with the prospect of a repeat of the 1974 final in Munich mouth-watering. The Holland coach, Bert van Marwijk, praised his team's progress over his two years in charge, and their willingness to erase the complacency that has cost talented Dutch teams so regularly in major tournaments over the years, and not least some 36 years ago.

"That game [the 1974 final] is precisely what I mean when I say that, too often in the past, the team has started well and then become too complacent," said van Marwijk. "We lost that final when we should have won it. We had a unique generation at the time, and Johan Cruyff was the best footballer I ever saw. What we've done in the last two years, though, is to try and eradicate that

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complacency and overconfidence. We are always thinking about the 'next match'. I'm so happy and proud that such a small country is in the final of a World Cup. It's difficult to get your head around. This has been a long process, something that has been years in the making. I showed at Feyenoord, where we won the Uefa Cup, that it's not always about having the best players but more about having the best team. The players have bought into that mentality now and we have banished complacency. "I told them before this game: 'Just don't let this chance slip away.' They didn't. It's quite something to have achieved this after 32 years. That only really sunk in right at the end of the match when I was sitting there on the bench, but we can't stop here. We have one more match to go."

For Uruguay, defeat in their first appearance at this stage of the tournament since 1970 was tarnished by the controversy surrounding the second Dutch goal with Robin van Persie appearing to be in an offside position as Sneijder's shot flicked in off two defenders. "It was offside, but referees make mistakes," said Oscar Tab‡rez, who is awaiting terms on a new contract with the Uruguayan Football Federation. "It wasn't the first time, but it happens everywhere. Not just in the World Cup.

There's no point crying about it. Sure, he was offside and the game could have been very different had it not been allowed because, after that, Holland played at ease." The South Americans will monitor Diego Forl‡n's fitness ahead of Saturday's third-place play-off after the team's talismanic striker limped out of the contest with 13 minutes remaining. Tab‡rez revealed he had been playing in pain throughout. "But we have to bury this result. I'm very proud of my players and what we have achieved here.

No one thought we would get even this far, so we can be pleased. I couldn't have asked for more from these players, or from Uruguay as a whole. We may have limitations as a team, but we play with pride." (Guardian)

 

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