PORT ELIZABETH - The impressive Dutch
march through the World Cup finals might hit a brick wall on
Friday when they meet a Brazil side in startling form and
looking everything like becoming champions for a sixth time.
Netherlands have their sights set on lifting the trophy
themselves but coach Bert van Marwijk faces a tactical dilemma
for a quarter-final in Port Elizabeth against a team that has
mercilessly punished their opponents, whatever their approach.
With three forwards, Chile boldly attacked the Samba Boys in
their second round encounter but lost 3-0 after being torn to
shreds by a side that looked close to flawless in all areas of
Likewise, putting up the shutters in defence does not seem
to work much either, with the likes of the brilliant Kaka,
Robinho and Luis Fabiano relentlessly chipping away.
Coach Dunga, who was captain when Brazil beat Netherlands in
the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, said their opponents were
technically strong and his team had to be prepared.
However, accommodation arrangements and an unfamiliar
training venue seemed to be more of a concern to Dunga than the
threat of Brazil's in-form and confident opponents.
"It interferes with things," he said. "We will have to share
a hotel with more people, there will be more confusion, and we
will have to overcome this situation. Now, we are going to move
to another reality," he said.
Elano will be missing on Friday with a bruised ankle
sustained during Brazil's game with Ivory Coast and Dani Alvez
will likely fill the void, as he did against Chile.
Felipe Melo has an ankle injury and his replacement Ramires
is suspended for two yellow cards, meaning Josue will likely get
a start against the Dutch.
Netherlands have won all four of their matches and Arjen
Robben's early goal on his return from injury in their 2-1 win
over Slovakia has given the team a major lift.
They have endured criticism about dull play but winger Ryan
Babel insisted the Dutch had so far faced opponents who had used
negative tactics and Brazil's attacking flair would bring the
best out of them.
"We play our better games against teams that want to play
football as well and on Friday, Brazil is not going to wait," he
Van Marwijk believes his team can go all the way having been
in control in their group matches. He will be expecting
something entirely different against Brazil, however.
"Perhaps we might be the underdogs for the first time in
South Africa. We are confident but the Brazilians also convey
this confidence. It's almost like they're invincible," he said.
"But we're here for one reason, to get the big prize. We
have to believe in it," he said.
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