We'll have Japanese for lunch, says Kuyt

Netherlands v Japan: Today, Durban, 12.30pm, ITV1

The Dutch and Japanese teams had one of those eye-opening experiences which should quell most nerves before today's match in Durban.

Heavy overnight rain meant neither team was able to train at the Moses Mabhida Stadium so they were taken to the Princess Magogo Stadium in Kwamashu Township. Kwamashu is normally in the news for being South Africa's murder capital, quite a distinction, with 300 killings recorded in a 12-month period. That was a year ago, and government investment, including the stadium, is slowly improving matters in the 500,000-head township, but the training sessions still represented a dramatic shift from the routine normally observed by footballers.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said he thought it was good for his players to see the township. His main focus, though, was assessing Arjen Robben's work-out. The likelihood is Robben will not be risked. The Dutch, like the Japanese, won their opening match and have no need to gamble. "It's quite something that he trained with us today," said Van Marwijk, "but we have to wait and see how he responds. "

The two teams met as recently as September. The Netherlands won 3-0 but found Japan hard to master for the first hour. "That was a big turning point for us," said Japan coach Takeshi Okada. "We hardly had opportunities before to play against world-class teams. That match led us to understand what the positives and negatives were for our team. We now have a Japanese style of playing and have been focusing on our strategy to beat the world-class teams."

"We cannot compare that game to this one," said Van Marwijk. "This is going to be a tougher. I expect a very aggressive Japan; they have progressed a lot."

There may be a slight edge on the bench. Van Marwijk failed to recognise his counterpart when they met at the draw, mistaking him for a federation executive. For his part Okada said: "I am not close to Van Marwijk. I cannot pronounce properly the Dutch coach's surname but by that I don't mean any disrespect."

In addition Dirk Kuyt's attempt at humour may not be well received. Asked if he ate sushi the Liverpool striker said: "Tomorrow we are going to win. A lot of players like Japanese food, so perhaps we can have Japan for lunch."

What to watch out for: Fast Honda

Keisuke Honda, the eye-catching attacking midfielder, 24 last Sunday, who could sell an awful lot for shirts for a shrewd Premier League club. Currently at CSKA Moscow.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada