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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Saturday, 10 July 2010 14:36 UK

World Cup 2010: Dutch aim to stifle Spain says Robben

Highlights - Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands

Winger Arjen Robben says the Netherlands are determined not to allow Spain to impose their own style on Sunday's World Cup final.

Germany paid the price for failing to combat Spain's passing game in the semi-final as they were defeated 1-0.

"We will defend from the front," said Robben. "No-one here feels they are too special to get their hands dirty.

"I was surprised with how freely Germany let Spain play. We have to start pressing them earlier."

Spain have dominated possession in the games they have played in South Africa, with the Barcelona midfield duo of Xavi and Andres Iniesta are central to their patient, passing style of play.


Key to Netherlands' hopes of neutralising this threat is combative central midfielder Mark van Bommel .

The Bayern Munich man has been criticised for his aggressive approach, particularly during Netherlands' 3-2 semi-final win over Uruguay in which he escaped a booking for a number of robust challenges but was later shown a yellow card for kicking the ball away.

However, Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk sees no problem in the physical approach of Van Bommel, who is also his son-in-law.

"I don't agree with what people are saying," said Van Marwijk. "The yellow card on Tuesday was his first in the entire competition. He has shown a lot of discipline in his play."

Despite winning all six of the games they have played at this World Cup, Netherlands have occasionally come in for criticism for the style of their play, which is more pragmatic than that employed by the 'total football' practitioners of the 1970s.

Robben header puts Dutch into final

Robben says the side will stick to their own successful approach, at the expense of flair, in their attempt to go one better than their predecessors, who lost the 1974 World Cup final 2-1 to West Germany and four years later were beaten finalists again, this time falling 3-1 to Argentina .

"I would much prefer to win a very ugly game than lose a beautiful one," said Robben. "We can still play attractive football but we can always rely on our good organisation as well.

"If you are organised, you know one goal could be enough, which has been the case so far.

"The point is, we are in a World Cup final. From now on how you actually play no longer matters.

"Of course, the intent is there to play good football but the result is far more important.

"We have heard enough of talk about how our football is very nice. But it gets you nowhere. We want to achieve something."

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see also
Can the Dutch shut down Spain?
10 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Zenden hopeful of Dutch success
09 Jul 10 |  Sunderland
Van Marwijk 'so proud' of Dutch
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Uruguay make plans to stop Robben
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Dutch warned against complacency
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team talk inspired us - Sneijder
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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