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Van Persie - History is ours for taking
Published : 08 Jul 2010 08:31:23
Robin van Persie knows his Holland team-mates have the chance to become immortal on Sunday.
Victory over favourites Spain in the World Cup final at Soccer City would finally erase the bitter taste of defeat from 1974 and 1978, when Rinus Michels' legendery Total Football side - inspired by the talismanic Johan Cruyff - came up short in back-to-back finals.
"It is a bit difficult because you have to fight against the generation of 1974 and 1978," said Arsenal forward Van Persie. "They are legends, Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and so on. If we win it for the first time it will be unbelievable because it means that we have done better than them."
Holland's only major triumph remains the one achieved at Euro 88 by a team containing Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten.
The current Dutch line-up lacks that immense individual talent but one reason put forward for their success is the close-knit bond Van Marwijk has been able to create.
On so many occasions in the past the Dutch have been riven with infighting.
There was supposedly one argument this time around involving Van Persie and star man Wesley Sneijder but coach Van Marwijk quickly put a lid on the trouble before it could escalate into anything more serious.
"I was not here when people spoke about the former sides," said Van Persie. "But I know do know this team has an unbelievable spirit.
"If you put a camera inside our hotel you would see us playing table tennis or making jokes. Everybody is playing cards and talking to each other which is important in order to achieve things.
"When you have a group of players where half of the team is not talking to each other, when one man does not like another, or when someone is not happy when someone else scores, you are not going anywhere."