Football World C up: Hiddink plays waiting game

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The Independent Online
PATRICK KLUIVERT, the Netherlands striker, may return to action tonight after a two-match ban for striking a Belgian defender.

The Netherlands coach, Guus Hiddink, has not revealed whether Kluivert, who is the subject of a pounds 4m bid by Arsenal, will start against Yugoslavia in Toulouse. The coach has praised the Milan forward for his attitude in training but is mindful that he was ineffectual in the 0-0 draw against Belgium.

"I'm looking forward to the next match and not thinking of the past, but I'm not assuming I'll play on Monday," Kluivert said. With Dennis Bergkamp still not 100 per cent fit, the most likely outcome is that Kluivert will appear late in the game as Bergkamp fades.

The Netherlands are still disappointed about their display in their final group match with Mexico when they fell from near-perfect to abysmal in the last quarter and threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2. "Mexico have taught us that we must keep pressing and not lose our concentration," Hiddink said.

The Yugoslav striker Predrag Mijatovic is fit to play, but his striking partner Darko Kovacevic is still injured. "There is no way Kovacevic will take part," Slobodan Santrac, Yugoslavia's coach, said. "The rest of the players are fit."

Kovacevic was injured in the 2-2 draw with Germany and did not play in the 1-0 win over the United States, when he was replaced by Savo Milosevic. However, the former Aston Villa striker failed to shine and looks set to lose his place either to the veteran Dejan Savicevic - who played for 30 minutes in the US game - or to the promising newcomer Perica Ognjenovic, of Red Star Belgrade.

"Ognjenovic will probably play but I'm not sure whether he will start. I'll decide at noon tomorrow," Santrac said.