Football: Belgians want to tie down wingers

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PAUL VAN HIMST, the Belgian coach, envisages a change to his team to deal with the threat he expects the Dutch to pose down the wings, and to tackle the deficiencies in midfield exposed during the 1-0 defeat of Morocco.

The central defender, Philippe Albert, who missed that match because of suspension, seems sure to return, while one striker - Luc Nilis - will probably stand down, leaving Marc Degryse and Josip Weber to forage up front.

Belgium hope Weber will be able to exploit any holes in the Dutch defence. Van Himst said that the veteran Dutch defender, Ronald Koeman, had been slow getting back during the match against Saudi Arabia.

Although Belgium are the seeded team in Group F, Van Himst told Dutch journalists that his side would be the underdogs. 'Holland are going to play Brazil in the final, as you've all been saying. So of course we're the underdogs,' he joked.

Apart from a goalless draw in a friendly match in 1987, Belgium and the Netherlands have not met since two World Cup qualifying games in late 1985, with each team winning once. But Dick Advocaat, the Dutch coach, played down the rivalry between the two teams.

'It is not extra motivation that it is Belgium and that it is so long since we played them,' he said. 'They have a different style from us. They play on the counter-attack but we always play full-out attack.'

Gaston Taument, who scored the winning goal against Saudi Arabia, may get his chance on the right wing in the starting line-up in preference to Marc Overmars, the player he replaced in the second half against Saudi Arabia.

BELGIUM (probable): Preud'homme (Benfica); Smidts (Antwerp), De Wolf, Albert (both Anderlecht), Grun (Parma) Staelens (Club Bruges), Van der Elst (Club Bruges), Scifo (Monaco), Boffin, Degryse, Weber (all Anderlecht).

NETHERLANDS (probable): De Goey; Van Gobbel (both Feyenoord), Koeman (Barcelona) Rijkaard, F de Boer (both Ajax), Taument (Feyenoord), Jonk (Internazionale), Wouters (PSV Eindhoven), Roy (Foggia), R de Boer (Ajax), Bergkamp (Internazionale).

Referee: R Marsiglia (Brazil).

In today's other Group F game in New Jersey, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, both beaten in their opening game, know that a draw is no use to either team. 'We must play an attacking game. We must be aggressive,' Rachid Daoudi, the Moroccan midfielder, said.

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