Dutch relishing Brazil challenge

The Dutch were not quite shouting ‘Bring on Brazil’ yesterday, after moving into the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1998, but nor did they sound intimidated by the prospect of Friday’s match in Port Elizabeth.

The Dutch were knocked out by Brazil in 1998, as they were four years prior, but this time, said Dirk Kuyt, it will be different. 'We can't wait to play them and convince the world that we can beat a team like Brazil, one of the best in the world,' said the Liverpool striker.

'We have to step up a level but we are confident,' said Giovanni van Bronckhorst. The captain added: 'We have belief. We started out with this team two years ago and from day one there was only one goal - to win the World Cup. We have won four games and we have three left to become world champions.'

Kuyt added: 'I think we have a chance against any team in the world. As we always say, the Dutch are always convinced of our own qualities.'

That Dutch arrogance too often ends with the squad imploding, either through players breaking into cliques or falling out with the coach. This time it appears to be different.

"The spirit is great,' said Van Bronckhorst. 'Everyone is getting along well and we all have one focus - winning the World Cup. Our coach [Bert van Marwijk] is very calm. He makes the team gel together. He's a good coach for us. He started from day one by telling us to have the belief we can be world champions, and we are still on course to succeed."

There was a hint of the old tension in Robin van Persie’s evident disgruntlement after being substituted in the second round win over Slovakia. Van Persie refused to speak after the game but everyone else insisted there was no problem. 'Everybody wants to play,' said Van Bronckhorst. 'Robin was not happy to be taken out of the game but that is the sort of hunger we want to see.'

'We've got a very good team spirit,' said Kuyt. 'Robin was not happy but he did not want to overreact to the staff or the players. Robin is a great team player.'

No one disputes that Kuyt meets that description. Once a central striker he usually plays wide right for Liverpool but played wide left for the Netherlands to accommodate the return of Arjen Robben. 'I said to the guys I can play in any position up front. For me it doesn't really matter which position I play. It was the most important thing for the team Arjen started on the right so I played on the left. We're delighted Arjen is back.'

'Robben makes a huge difference,' added John Heitinga. 'He's a player from a different class. You see that the opposing defenders start running backwards when he is playing which makes it easier for us to play football.'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England