Holland eager to overcome big-tourament jitters

16:52, May 18, 2010      

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Holland have earned a reputation as World Cup under-performer, but remain one of the biggest threats every time heading into the tournament.

Four years ago in Germany, Marco Van Basten's side was stopped by Portugal in the round of 16 after it progressed through the "Group of Death" which also included Argentina, Serbia and Cote d'Ivoire.

Under the guidance of Bert van Marwijk, who succeeded van Basten as the head coach after Euro 2008, Holland had one of the most impressive qualifying records of all the teams going to South Africa. With teams like Norway, Scotland and Macedonia never likely to pose them too many problems, Holland topped their group in the European qualifying zone with eight wins from eight matches.

Holland boast one of the world's most talented attacking lineup - Arjen Robben, Mark van Bommel (both Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Robin van Persie (Arsenal).

"In that configuration, we can go very far," van Persie said after the preliminary squad was unveiled.

According to the latest FIFA world rankings, the Netherlands is fourth, while their Group E rivals in South Africa Cameroon ranked 19th, Denmark 35th and Japan 45th. On paper the Netherlands should have no difficulty in reaching the knock-out stage, but expectations are running high.

"I think that's the best stage to perform on and I am looking forward to it," Robben said.



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