JOHANNESBURG - Netherlands striker Robin
van Persie had saved his best for last and was set to shine in
the World Cup final against Spain, said coach Bert van Marwijk.
Van Persie, who is being deployed as a lone front man, has
failed to meet expectations having netted just once while Dutch
playmaker Wesley Sneijder is joint-top scorer at the finals with
Spain's David Villa, both having struck five goals.
But for Van Marwijk there is no reason to doubt Van Persie's
qualities as his form has got better during the tournament.
"Robin has really improved during the last few matches and I
still have a lot of confidence in him," he said on Thursday. "I
think he will show his best football in the coming match."
Van Marwijk has a full squad to choose from for Sunday's
final at Soccer City with all his players fit and Gregory van
der Wiel and Nigel de Jong, who were both suspended for the
semi-final against Uruguay, also available again.
The coach revealed that after they went 3-1 up in Tuesday's
match he began thinking they were close to reaching their third
World Cup final, three decades after the 1974 and 1978 finals.
But despite the eventual 3-2 victory putting him in the same
bracket as the late Rinus Michels and Ernst Happel, he was not
thinking about his own appearance as a coach in the final.
"I'm not the type who thinks about his own presence in such
a match, I just approach it as the most important match in my
life," he told Thursday's news conference.
"We (the technical staff) talk a lot about it but we're not
overreacting. Actually, we handle it like we always did although
we notice through all the media attention we're talking about a
World Cup final but that does not change our preparation."
Netherlands have now won 14 competitive matches in a row but
have still never really produced the trademark entertainment
that earned them so much critical acclaim in the past.
Van Marwijk believes there is still room for improvement and
more consistency in his team, however.
"We've won six in a row this campaign and also had some
phases of good football but sometimes we were too sloppy... when
we didn't reward a good fluent attack with a goal," he added.
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