Robben happy to win ugly with Holland

Arjen Robben would be delighted to win ugly in the World Cup final on Sunday.

The present Dutch squad is generally regarded as the least attractive of the three that have reached the game's greatest stage.



Their first attempt came in the 'Total Football' era of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff, and, as will be the case this weekend, also featured an English referee in Jack Taylor.



But defeat to a technically inferior but tactically more astute West Germany was followed by a similar outcome in Argentina four years later, when Michels and Cruyff were no longer around but legends such as Johan Neeskens and Ruud Krol still were to bring a sense of flair to the 'Oranje'.



So, having won plaudits but no prizes all those years ago, Robben is quite happy to have the workmanlike tag attached to the present side. All he cares about is the result.



"I would much prefer to win a very ugly game than lose a beautiful one," said the former Chelsea star.



"We can still play attractive football but we can always rely on our good organisation as well.



"If you are organised, you know one goal could be enough, which has been the case so far.



"The point is, we are in a World Cup final. From now on how you actually play no longer matters.



"Of course, the intent is there to play good football but the result is far more important.



"We have heard enough of talk about how our football is very nice. But it gets you nowhere. We want to achieve something."



That is not to say Holland are without talent.



Wesley Sneijder has enjoyed an outstanding tournament and is now on the brink of emulating Pele's achievement in 1962 by adding the World Cup to a treble achieved on club duty with Inter Milan.



Little wonder Manchester United are so interested in the midfield schemer.



As United found to their cost in the Champions League quarter-finals, Robben still packs a powerful punch too, although the 26-year-old continues to be plagued by a hamstring injury picked up before the tournament began.



"I don't think I have been quite at my best because occasionally I still suffer some pain," he said.



"It doesn't stop me playing, but it would not be truthful to say I am pain-free.



"It is getting better, however, it is not perfect and I am just doing as much as I possibly can."



With Dirk Kuyt buzzing around in his usual industrious manner and Robin van Persie proving to be a fairly effective battering ram, whose lack of goals is compensated for by the efforts of Sneijder and Robben, Spain know defensively they will have to be on high alert.



There are connections between the two camps.



Pepe Reina has already revealed he has been in text contact with Liverpool team-mate Kuyt.



It seems Robben is not as close with Spain skipper Iker Casillas, who until last summer he shared a dressing room with at Real Madrid.



"I have had no contact with him," said Robben.



"It is something that is not important. I do not need friends. I want to be world champion."



Judging by the respective semi-final performances this week, Holland's main problem will be getting hold of the ball and then keeping it for any significant length of time.



The task proved beyond Germany's youngsters in Durban on Wednesday, although the robust approach of midfield anchor Mark van Bommel might mean Holland have more success is they can apply pressure to Xavi and Andres Iniesta.



Van Bommel cannot shake Spain up on his own.



Robben realises his Bayern Munich team-mate is going to need help. And he knows there is no-one in the Dutch squad too precious to supply it.



"We will defend from the front," he said.



"No-one here feels they are too special to get their hands dirty.



"I was really surprised with how freely Germany let Spain play on Wednesday. We have to start pressing them earlier, and far higher up the field."



History beckons and Amsterdam is waiting to party.



Having won all eight games - including two defeats of Scotland - to reach South Africa and six more to get to the final, the men tasked with wearing those distinctive orange shirts are determined not to let anyone down now.



"We won every qualifying game and then every game since we have been here," said Sneijder.



"We are not going to allow Spain to beat us now."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
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

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor