Football: Bergkamp trump for attacking Dutchmen

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The Independent Online
DENNIS BERGKAMP will tonight start his first game for seven weeks - which may guarantee the Dutch score their first goal of the 1998 finals and that South Korea's winless World Cup run continues.

The Koreans have no illusions about their chances in the Group E game in Marseilles against a side who, without the suspended Patrick Kluivert, want to make up for the disappointing 0-0 draw in the opening game against Belgium. "I'm hoping for a goalless draw against the Netherlands. If we take a point, then maybe we can beat Belgium to go through to the second round," said South Korea's coach, Cha Bum-kun.

For the Netherlands, the match is a repeat of what might be called the Belgian problem. The other teams in the group regard the Dutch as favourites and will aim to stop their attack. The strategy may be unattractive but, as the Belgians showed on Saturday, the Dutch front line can be blunted.

The Dutch coach, Guus Hiddink, will attack along both flanks and believes a fully fit Bergkamp - he played 25 minutes against the Belgians after recovering from a hamstring pull - will make the most of a stream of chances.

The South Koreans are likely to play one, maybe two, up front and defend in numbers. Hiddink has hinted he will partner Bergkamp with Ronald de Boer, normally an attacking midfielder, rather than Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, whose first touch was missing last Saturday.

Belgium's coach, George Leekens, is to turn to Enzo Scifo against Mexico in Bordeaux today after settling a long-running dispute with the veteran midfielder earlier this year. Scifo is one of three changes from the starting line-up against the Dutch. Defenders Eric Deflandre and Gordan Vidovic are the others.

Leekens may be forced to make a fourth alteration if another veteran, his captain Franky van der Elst, fails to recover from a groin injury.

The Mexicans, 3-1 winners over South Korea, aim to secure qualification tonight. "We hope we can secure a good result again. We've already enjoyed one victory," defender Claudio Suarez said. "It was an important victory but what's ahead is more important.