In 1651, Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck was the first European to land in South Africa, where the Dutch-based language, Afrikaans, is still spoken today. Now, three centuries later, the Dutch are hoping to conquer the continent again. Fittingly, the Netherlands were the first European nation to qualify for the 2010 World Cup - and they arrive in confident mood. A 100% qualifying campaign, just two goals conceded, and the world-class talents of Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben make the Oranje a serious contender.
Of course, Holland have been here before. Four years ago Marco van Basten's side sailed through the 'group of death' only to fall to Portugal in the second round. At Euro 2008, they brushed aside World Cup finalists Italy and France to finish top of their group, only to fall to Guus Hiddink's Russia. But this time coach Bert van Marwijk has stuck with the same core group of players and has tried to instil a greater sense of unity, an age-old problem in the Dutch squad. Much will depend on the fitness of Van Persie and Robben, and the form of a suspect defence that remains their most obvious weakness.
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