Netherlands ready to end Brazil hoodoo

GIOVANNI van Bronckhorst has warned Brazil that the Netherlands are ready to break their World Cup stranglehold over them.

The Dutch have twice in recent times suffered heartbreaking exits at the hands of the five-times winners, going out in the quarter-finals in 1994 and the semis in 1998 after a penalty shoot-out.

But there is a confidence this time around they can get past Dunga’s men and stake a claim on a trophy they have never won, despite several near misses.

He said: “We want to win the game, that’s obvious. The games in the past haven’t gone our way, but we want to win the World Cup, and that means we have to beat Brazil.

“We are confident, but we are playing against a great team.

“We are a tight group. This team has been together for five or six years now and we know what the strengths of all the players are.

“We go into every game to win it and fight for each other, and everybody has to believe we can win this match.

“The game against Brazil is a big game, but we are confident and we will go out on the pitch tomorrow to win.”

The stakes will be raised considerably tomorrow, but coach Bert van Marwijk has no doubts his players are ready.

He said: “Absolutely. We always try to prepare ourselves as well as possible, but the players are really excited for what is a very important game. Brazil are the favourites to win the World Cup and have the best players. But we have proven we can beat top teams, so we have full confidence in that.”

The biggest prize of all lies in wait for Van Marwijk’s players if they can find a way past the Brazilians, but asked if he had promised them any reward for a victory, he was noncommittal.

He said with a smile: “I haven’t promised them anything, not yet. But if we win, we will have a great evening.”


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