‘Difficult to fight memories’ | sports | Hindustan Times
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‘Difficult to fight memories’

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has admitted he is desperate to win the World Cup on Sunday to follow in the footsteps of his hero Diego Maradona after the Netherlands semifinal win over Uruguay.

sports Updated: Jul 08, 2010 01:19 IST

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has admitted he is desperate to win the World Cup on Sunday to follow in the footsteps of his hero Diego Maradona after the Netherlands semifinal win over Uruguay.

Van Persie, who has not been at his best at the finals and has just one goal to his credit, is delighted to be in the final and has even allowed himself to dream of what it will feel like to be part of the first Dutch team to lift the trophy.

“I am used to watching other teams in the final, but this time I will be in it, I will be in the middle,” beamed the 26-year-old.

“I don’t know how good it will feel (to win), but I have a really big picture in my games room back home of Maradona holding the World Cup (in 1986 after defeating West Germany).

“It is an unbelievable picture, he is on his teammates shoulders holding the trophy with this huge smile on his face. If we win, I would like to make a picture like that.”

Van Persie said to go a step further than the star-studded Dutch teams of the 1970s, led by Johan Cruyff who suffered World Cup disappointment in 1974 and was not there for the 1978 defeat, would be a dream come true, but will not be easy.

“It is difficult to cope with the pressure, because you have to fight against the memories of the teams that went before you in 1974 and 1978,” Van Persie said.

“They were such great players, they didn’t do it, somehow, but we have the chance to do it now for the first time and then we will have done better than them.

“You grow up with the memories of those teams, when players from those sides talk, everyone listens. Maybe one day they will listen to me,” he joked.

Van Persie said he was exhausted after the semi-final, but praised the strong team spirit in the Dutch camp as they refused to panic despite conceding a goal in stoppage time as they held on to seal their place in Sunday’s final.

“What I really like about this team is that we all talk,” said van Persie, who nevertheless had to be called in for talks with playmaker Wesley Sneijder when he was caught on camera questioning why he had been replaced in the Last 16 victory over Slovakia and not the Inter Milan star, with whom he has less than friendly relations.

“If you put a camera in our hotel, you would find everyone is getting on with each other. Everyone is working hard to achieve thing.

“There is none of the problems you can get, we know that if that happens we aren’t going anywhere.”