Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk insists Holland are ready to end their 32-year wait for a World Cup title in Sunday’s final and write their own chapter in Netherlands’ football history.
The Dutch face European champions Spain at Johannesburg’s Soccer City with both sides bidding to win a first world title.
Holland reached both the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals, losing to West Germany and Argentina respectively, but van Marwijk says his side are ready to go a step further than those great Dutch teams.
‘We will play for the whole of Holland,’ said van Marwijk. ‘I do not think in terms of revenge (for those defeats).
‘I will watch the game without thinking about historical statistics. We haven’t experienced winning a final and neither have Spain.’
The Dutch are expecting a tight, tactical game against the Euro 2008 winners, who under Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, dominated Germany in Wednesday’s semi-final.
‘I suppose that the two coaches will work from a clear strategy, both sides will have a little bit of tension,’ said van Marwijk.
‘Spain deserved to beat Germany, I like the way they played, we will play our way against them. We respect them, but we are not afraid of them.
‘It will be a big challenge for us, they made it hard for the Germans to play.’
If they win Sunday’s final, the Dutch will become only the second team to record a perfect World Cup campaign, after Brazil in 1970, by winning every single match in both qualification and the finals.
Van Marwijk says the key games on their run to the final have been neither the shock quarter-final defeat of Brazil, nor the semi-final win over Uruguay, but the matches against minnows Japan and Slovakia, which he feared.
‘There were two key games for us,’ he said.
‘The match against Japan in the group phase, then the victory over Slovakia in the second round.
‘Everybody predicted an easy game, but I really feared we would go out.
‘I was afraid the demons of the past would resurface and send us home.
‘After that, against Brazil, it was easier for me to motivate the players.’
After his side were well beaten in Durban’s semi-final, Germany coach Joachim Low has tipped Spain to claim victory in Sunday’s final, but van Marwijk insists he is confident the Oranje will win.
‘It doesn’t interest me who thinks who is the favourite. I am preparing for the match and I am confident,’ said the 58-year-old.