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"The intellectualisation
of football has
always foundered
on a simple problem-
-the players. Doing
all your most
rewarding thinking
with your feet seems
to dull the philo-
sophical impulse.
Unless, of course,
you are Dutch.
According to legend,
Europeans played
a moronic, muscular
version of the world's
game, until Holland
proclaimed its vision
of total football in the
1974 World Cup,
and enlightenment
dawned."

From:
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
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UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine
Group E - Qualifications

Van Marwijk: "We are prepared for all scenarios"

12 October 2010

Holland are up for their first real test tonight. Sweden come to the Amsterdam Arena and the Scandinavians are seen as the strongest opponent in Group E of the qualifications for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Bondscoach Bert van Marwijk - as always - has nothing but praise for them. "Sweden are a decent team with specific qualities. Zlatan and Toivonen are simply very good, very dangerous players. But they have good midfielders as well."

Van Marwijk compares them to Denmark: "Here too it's a case of two teams who have very few secrets for each other. They are physically very strong but they can play a bit of football as well. Many Swedish players play in strong foreign leagues and have a lot of experience. They have plenty of those."

Dangerous
Van Marwijk has also learned that since the arrival of manager Erik Hamrén, in November 2009, Sweden play more offensive. "It could be they want to put us under pressure from the start. Perhaps they surprise us? Moldavia played a lot more defensive than we expected after their game against Finland. That can happen tonight as well. We are prepared for all scenarios. Any game can be dangerous. We have seen that against Finland. It's a matter of being focussed."

Van Marwijk also addressed his choice to play Rafael van der Vaart as a holding midfielder. "You can do that with Van der Vaart, but the whole team has to adapt to that. If not we are vulnerable."

The issue of Van der Vaart has become part of the issue about the attractiveness of Holland's game. It's the most important discussion in the Dutch sports media of the moment; a discussion in which even big guns like Johan Cruijff and Guus Hiddink take part without holding back. Of course their remarks also reach the staff of the team.

"We played three friendlies before the World Cup and we played very attractive. During the World Cup there are other rules at play. We wanted to play with style, but for some reason it didn't work out. But we did win six games in a row. We still try to play attractive football."

During the press conference he was asked whether or not playing Van der Vaart next to Van Bommel instead of De Jong ads to that attractiveness. Van Marwijk: "That is possible with Van der Vaart. But the whole team has to go along with it, otherwise we are very vulnerable. Like during that stretch of the game against Finland. Against Moldavia we were very focussed again. But we should always be focussed for 90 minutes."

The manager didn't really have an explanation for that vulnerability against Finland. "Those last 25 minutes of the first half were terrible. We lost control. When we don't have every player does his part, especially when we don't have possession, we are vulnerable. When everyone does do his part we are a very good side. It's a matter of positioning yourself well, so that the opponent doesn't have a chance."

It all fits in with the long term-strategy of Van Marwijk. "From the moment I started I have said I want the team to be more stable. As a team Barcelona and Spain defend very well. As a team..."

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