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Win the cup to write history: Dutch coach

sports Updated: Jul 07, 2010 14:24 IST

AFP
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Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk has praised his side for reaching their first World Cup final in 32 years - but said their achievement counts for nothing yet.

The Netherlands' 3-2 win over Uruguay on Tuesday in their semi-final has put them in Sunday's World Cup final where they will face either Germany or European champions Spain at Johannesburg's Soccer City.

The Dutch are bidding to win their first World Cup title and having lost both the 1974 and 1978 finals, van Marwijk says the current side must win if they want to write themselves into Dutch footballing history.

"It is quite something we have achieved after 32 years, but we are not there yet and there is one more match to look forward to," he said.

The former Feyenoord coach has instilled a strong team spirit into his squad by removing any hint of arrogance and has always insisted his team think only of their next game. "What happened before my time, with all due respect, I don't look at it," said the 58-year-old, who replaced Marco van Basten after Euro 2008.

"I did things my way, we play good football and sometimes beautiful football, but in the past we started winning and got over-confident.

"I try to tell my players there will always be a next match.

"I try to give them more stability by teaching them how to defend properly, I love attacking football, but we must have possession of the ball."

Never one to suffer journalists' sometimes foolish questions gladly, van Marwijk showed signs his frosty posture may be thawing as he opened up about what it means for the success-starved Dutch to reach the World Cup final.

"Of course I am very very happy and proud that such a small country is in the World Cup final, it is hard to understand," he said after the semi-final win.

"It is something I started working on two years ago and it's been a long process. "Then, as now, you get atmosphere in the team and I told them 'don't let this chance get away'."

Van Marwijk praised his side for not panicking despite conceding a late consolation goal by Maximiliano Pereira to make it 3-2 with time almost up.

"We started well and had excellent organisation then gained the confidence to play a bit more freely and be a bit braver," said van Marwijk.

"We lost grip in midfield, but at half-time we corrected that.

"Things went wrong every now and then, but we took the initiative a bit more and when we scored for 2-1, I had full confidence.

"But opponents can all of a sudden score a goal and it becomes really exciting.

"We didn't make it 4-1 or 5-1 but we survived and we were just so relieved in the changing room."