Van Marwijk: We are ready for Brazil
Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk pronounced his team ready Thursday for its greatest challenge of the World Cup so far: taking on six-time winner Brazil in Friday's eagerly anticipated quarter-final, dpa reported.
"We are ready," said Van Marwijk, 56. "You always try to prepare well, but you can tell that the guys are hot for this game."
He said that his team would have to be at the top of its game to take down the Brazilian giants, but insisted it was possible.
"Brazil are the favourites, and perhaps they have the better players," he said. "But we want to show that we can play against them. We want to believe in ourselves and play our game."
"Brazil has a very strong team. They have a patient buildup and remain in possession of the ball. They are waiting for our mistakes, so we cannot afford any mistakes," he warned.
"We have no fear. We are realistic and know that Brazil has a strong team with many weapons. But we are not afraid," he said, adding by way of proof: "I would not trade (Wesley) Sneijder and (Arjen) Robben for Robinho and Luis Fabiano."
Van Marwijk said he had worked hard with the team on making them harder to beat since he took over in 2008. "In the past we have played spectacular games, but also allowed too many opportunities. I changed this when I took over. Our game with the ball is actually still the same, but we are better now."
Van Marwijk acknowledged that the Brazilians had also tightened their game compared to the free-flowing traditions of samba football.
"Football has changed, it is speeding up. The teams are better organized and fitter. It is now harder to win the World Cup. So I can understand that the Brazilians don't play samba football anymore," he said.
He also distanced himself from Dutch legend Johann Cruyff's criticism of the new Brazilian style. "Johan Cruyff knows that (football) is not always beautiful. The Spaniards currently play perhaps the most beautiful football but they also have heavy periods. You are at this World Cup - it is not so spectacular," he said
"We came here to win the tournament and we have won all four games," he concluded. "Maybe not always exhilarating, but well deserved."