Van Persie set to lead Dutch line

05 July 2010 06:02

Robin van Persie will start up front for Holland when they face Uruguay in the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

The Arsenal striker had been a doubt after injuring his elbow against Brazil in the quarter-final but has been given the all-clear and will be hoping to fire the Dutch to their first World Cup final since 1978.

Striker Luis Suarez will be missing for Uruguay following his dismissal against Ghana while Jorge Fucile is also suspended and Diego Godin and skipper Diego Lugano are both doubts due to knee and thigh injuries respectively.

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk is predicting a battle royal against the "fighters'' of Uruguay but believes his Dutch players have added some steel to their renowned brand of attractive football.

He said: "When I took over this job, my first goal was to teach the team to defend better.

"Because we haven't scored that many goals so far in this World Cup, people see it differently as they only associate attractive football with lots of goals. But we still play attractive football.

"Uruguay are a team of fighters. They battle and survive. That is why they have reached the semi-finals. We must certainly not underestimate them, otherwise things will go wrong for us.''

Lugano is hopeful of being fit for the clash and said: "I was lucky enough to train and run in a straight line without pain, which is good news because it's only 48 hours since I was injured,''

"Now we'll have to wait until the last minute.

"I don't mind playing through the pain, but the point is to be 100% ready for a match of this level."

Source: PA