Netherlands coach Bert Van Marwijk admits his team doesn’t play with the beauty of World Cup final opponent Spain.
Otherwise, he says, the two can go head-to-head.
When Van Marwijk looks at Spain, he sees the world’s best team of the past few years – and the fluid playing style of a Barcelona squad that has been the bane of clubs all over Europe.
“We play well, Spain plays well, but they are more attractive and this is where we want to get too,” Van Marwijk said Thursday.
Never miss a local story.
Van Marwijk said his team needs to tighten its defense in front of goal to counter Spain during Sunday’s final at Soccer City, while on offense he has the fearsome trio of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie at his disposal.
Sneijder, tied with Spain’s David Villa for top scorer at the World Cup with five goals, said the team has to show more “guts” when it has the ball.
“We have to shed our inhibitions,” Sneijder said.
Told that Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt was quoted saying that Spain are a collection of individuals while the Dutch are a “team”, Van Marwijk quickly countered.
“When they lose the ball, they immediately join in, their big stars too,” Van Marwijk said. “It is something we also do well.”
KLOSE MIGHT SIT
Germany striker Miroslav Klose could miss Saturday’s third-place match against Uruguay because of injury, and with it lose a chance to take over as top scorer in World Cup history.
Assistant coach Hansi Flick said Klose has a back injury. Klose needs one goal to match Ronaldo’s record of 15 for Brazil.
England’s Howard Webb will referee the World Cup final. Webb, 38, has refereed three World Cup matches and has neither shown a red card nor awarded a penalty kick. Webb and assistants Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey will complete a prestigious end-of-season double after officiating the Champions League final in May, when Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich in Madrid. … Italy’s Robert Rosetti, the referee who wrongly awarded a goal to Argentina in its second-round win against Mexico, reportedly has retired from officiating. … FIFA unveiled the official ball for Sunday’s final. The Jo’bulani, a gold-colored version of the Jabulani used throughout the tournament, was delivered to the training camps of both teams Thursday. The ball’s name is a tribute to Johannesburg or Jo’burg, the City of Gold.
Third-place match: Uruguay vs. Germany, 11:30 a.m. at Port Elizabeth, Ch. 4