Manchester United’s Robin van Persie has warned that Holland should not be underestimated as they prepare to face Spain in their opening Group B game.
The Dutch captain said that the Oranje must “prove themselves” after their defeat to the world champions in the 2010 tournament final and although Van Persie is Holland’s top scorer with 41 goals in 80 international games, he wants to mirror that with team success and believes the squad is now ready for the tournament.
“Do not underestimate us, even though Spain are a great team,” Van Persie said.
“Our focus is good and it has to be. What you saw in the past often, is that in the beginning, many jokes were being made. I think that’s less the case now.”
Van Persie also revealed that he had been dealing with pain for the past six years but felt fresh and ready for the challenge in Salvador.
“The last few days I have trained fully and I therefore have no more problems,” he added.
“‘I’m ready for it. Besides, I’ve been playing six years with aches. There is always something. I’ve had to learn to do that.
“I’m positive for everything that lies ahead and have faith in our team.”
Incoming United manager Louis van Gaal is expected to start with a five-man defence including Bruno Indi Martins and Stefan de Vrij, both of whom have been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford but young midfielder Jordy Clasie, also linked with a move to United, is not expected to start.
Confirmed Netherlands XI against Spain: pic.twitter.com/32SftGbhQM
— Elko Born (@Elko_B) June 13, 2014