RVP hails Oranje spirit

Striker puts Dutch success down to team spirit

RVP: Targets World Cup

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Striker Robin van Persie puts Holland's success at the World Cup in South Africa down to 'team spirit' as the Dutch aim to go one better than the great sides of the 70's and win the trophy at the third time of asking.

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There have been many occasions in the past when the nation have imploded during major tournaments due to major in-fighting.

At this tournament there was reportedly an argument involving the Arsenal striker and Wesley Sneijder, but head coach Bert van Marwiik and Inter Milan's Sneijder himself quickly put a lid on the matter.

"I was not here when people spoke about the former sides," said Van Persie. "But I 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."

The Total Football team created by Rinus Michels is widely acknowledged to be one of the best ever. But they were beaten by hosts West Germany in 1974 and four years later against Argentina.

One better

While the Dutch were competing in their ninth major semi-final against Uruguay, they have collected just one trophy - Euro 88 and Van Persie believes this team have a chance to go one better.

"It is a bit difficult because you have to fight against the generation of 1974 and 1978," said Van Persie.

"They were unbelievable. They are legends, (Johan) Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and so on.

"You grew up with their names in your face. When those people say anything in the press or on a TV programme everybody listens because of what they have achieved.

"But somehow, we have a chance to do it.

"If we win it for the first time it will be unbelievable because basically it means that we have done better than them."


The Gunners frontman acknowledges the joy at what the Oranje have achieved in South Africa which has caused the country to go into wild celebrations.

"I spoke to two friends of mine in Rotterdam and they were trying to explain what it is like," said Van Persie. "Holland is just upside down. It is unbelievable.

"Everybody is drinking, having fun, swimming in the canals. It is crazy. Everyone is so happy.

"That is what is really nice. With the game we all love we can make people so happy. We just need to push on one more time.

"Then I don't know what will happen."