Van Marwijk primes Dutch for do-or-die assault

16 June 2012 06:48

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk admits his side have no option but to attack if they are to secure the two-goal win over Portugal on Sunday that they need to reach the Euro 2012 last eight.

Consecutive losses to Denmark and Germany have left the 2010 World Cup finalists in a desperate position in Group D, and they also need Germany to beat the Danes in Lviv to stand any chance of making the last eight.

Against such a backdrop, the Dutch press have speculated that van Marwijk could be set to introduce both Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart to his starting XI to give his team a greater cutting edge.

The 60-year-old van Marwijk gave little away during a brief, occasionally terse press conference at Kharkiv's Metalist Stadium on Saturday, but he did concede that the time for caution and calculation had passed.

"If you play in a finals tournament, sometimes you only need a draw in your last game to go through," he said.

"But here we have to go for it. In the hope that Germany win, we know from the start that after 90 minutes we will need to have won by a two-goal margin.

"I have that in mind. That's what the tactics are based on and you'll see that tomorrow (Sunday)."

Previous encounters between the teams have been stormy affairs -- the last-16 match at the 2006 World Cup yielding a record 16 yellow cards -- and van Marwijk has warned his players to keep cool heads.

"It's going to be a very hectic game," he predicted.

"We've seen lots of yellow and red cards in the past. We're going to need a lot of discipline and I've told the players that, but they knew it anyway."

In his own pre-game press conference, Portugal coach Paulo Bento had hinted that his side would be prepared to play portions of the game on the break.

Van Marwijk, though, says the threat from the Portuguese does not begin and end with the counter-attacking raids of wingers Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"It's more than just Ronaldo," he said.

"They have enough in their drawer. They've got Ronaldo and Nani, yes, but they've got nine other players as well. It's a great team."

Van Marwijk was joined at Saturday's media briefing by his captain -- and son-in-law -- Mark van Bommel.

Much has been made of a post-match embrace between van Bommel and his former Bayern Munich team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger following Holland's 2-1 loss to Germany on Wednesday, when the German midfielder pledged that his side would do everything in their power to beat Denmark.

Van Bommel smiled when he was asked if he had been in contact with Schweinsteiger in the days leading up to Sunday's game.

"I have been in contact with Bastian Schweinsteiger, yes," he said. "But not in the last few days."

The Netherlands have endured an occasionally turbulent tournament, with Huntelaar and van der Vaart both speaking out about their substitute status and Arjen Robben reacting angrily to being substituted against Germany.

It has prompted predictable headlines about the Dutch national team's reputation for in-house squabbling, but van Bommel said that he would not expect the players to react any differently to their current situation.

"The atmosphere after two losses is not as it would be if we'd won twice; that's normal," he said.

"But we're going to fight for that last chance and the atmosphere is always better when you win. It's not that we're completely down but we have a nice last chance tomorrow and we're going to take it."

Source: AFP