Van Bronckhorst milestone marks Netherlands opener
Preview: Netherlands v Denmark: Today, 12.30pm, ITV1
Monday 14 June 2010
Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a veteran of half a dozen major tournaments, will begin the latest one by making his 100th international appearance as the Netherlands open Group E against Denmark at Soccer City today. At 35, it is expected to be his last World Cup, and without wanting to talk up the team's apparently bright prospects, he is desperate that the Dutch should finally win something again, 22 years after romping to success at the European Championships in Germany.
"I suppose it all started at the 1974 World Cup," he said yesterday. "At the European Championship and World Cup we've always shown good football. We've got to make sure we can be consistent and I think we've shown over the last two years that we've a team that desperately want to become champions."
In that period the Oranje joined Spain as the only European team to win every qualifying match, in their case conceding only two goals and winning the group by 14 points. The last two warm-up matches have brought victories over Ghana by 4-1 and Hungary by 6-1, extending an unbeaten run that stretches back to September 2008. Arjen Robben injured a thigh in the Hungary game and will be replaced today by Rafael van der Vaart.
Van Bronckhorst will captain the side from left-back, a position he settled into at Barcelona after moving from the Netherlands to Rangers and then Arsenal, where a bad knee injury hampered his chances of winning a regular place in midfield.
What to watch out for
Denmark coach Morten Olsen is desperate to have Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner fit after a groin strain, in which case he is likely to play alongside two former Premier League forwards still going strong in Jon Dahl Tomasson and Dennis Rommedahl. It should be both an attacking game and a colourful occasion.
Latest in Sport
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Manchester City face another struggle to make an impact in Champions League
Javier Hernandez: Great night for Manchester United, terrible night for Chicharito
Paul Pogba to Chelsea: Transfer news live - John Stones latest, Gareth Bale and Neymar to Manchester United, Edinson Cavani to Arsenal
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine