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Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Friday, 9 July 2010 12:04 UK

Boudewijn Zenden hopes for Dutch World Cup success

Boudewijn Zenden
Zenden made 54 appearances for the Netherlands over seven years

Sunderland midfielder Boudewijn Zenden remains hopeful that his native Netherlands can beat Spain in Sunday's World Cup final showdown.

The Dutch have never won the World Cup, despite two final defeats, and Zenden, who has 54 caps for his country, is anticipating a first success.

"Both teams will need their best performances to win the World Cup," Zenden told BBC Newcastle.

"They've got so far, they're so close now and I hope that they can nick it."

Zenden's own international career took in the 1998 World Cup in France, where the flamboyant Dutch were beaten by Brazil in the semi-finals, with the then Barcelona-bound winger netting in the third place play-off against Croatia.

He was also a key part of two European Championship sides, notably at the 2000 tournament where the Netherlands were joint hosts and where heartbreak again sent Frank Rijkaard's team tumbling out in the last four.

In both of these cases the Dutch were lauded for their attractive style of football, and Zenden is confident that after a slow start the current line-up are starting to find their top game in time for world football's showpiece event.

"We don't want to see a team just win, we want to see the team playing in a nice way as well," he continued.

"At the beginning of the tournament it wasn't the case, but gradually the games got better and let's hope Sunday they can perform their best game of the tournament.

"Both teams, even Spain, need their best performance to win it on Sunday, but to see the Dutch go all the way has been great, and the game against Brazil was a bit like a semi-final rather than the Uruguay game.

"Back in Holland, if we go to a tournament, the goal is to get to the final and win it, and if you don't have that intention, you might as well not go."

Zenden joined Sunderland in October 2009, and agreed a new one-year extension in May 2010 having completed more then 50% of the club's fixtures.

The 33-year-old started his career with PSV Eindhoven, also played for Liverpool and Middlesbrough during his spells in England before the move to Marseille.



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