Pleasing the hard to please
LESS than 24 hours after becoming the first side to qualify for the knockout phase of the World Cup, The Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk found himself defending his team's lack of stylish play.
Two wins from two matches have put The Netherlands through but Van Marwijk was forced on the defensive by Dutch reporters over perceptions the victories were unconvincing.
"It's difficult to dominate . Patience is the most important aspect in this tournament, waiting for a chance to take control and then impose yourself," he said.
"Patience is not about delaying or being nonchalant," he said after their 1-0 win over Japan.
"I thought we played a little too deep in the first game (a 2-0 win over Denmark) and in the second match we didn't play wide enough.
"But we have also left the impression with rival coaches that they have little chance to score against us. And that is a compliment," he added.
"Of course, that is not always attractive football. Everyone looks at the game in his own way and I understand that people want to see attractive football.
"But if you play too expansively, you stand a good chance to lose and then you go home. And that we don't want to do," he responded to persistent questioning about the lack of fluidity in the two matches.
Van Marwijk said he told his players it would be better to win first, even if not playing well.
The Dutch were sublime at times in their qualifiers winning all eight games with attacking play and scoring 17 goals against just two conceded.
The country has long espoused a coaching philosophy of passing, wing play and encouraging technical skills. - Reuter