Robben happy for Holland to win ugly against Spain
Holland winger Arjen Robben has said he would be delighted to win ugly in the World Cup final on Sunday.
The present Dutch squad is generally regarded as the least attractive of the three that have reached the game's greatest stage.
Their first attempt came in the 'Total Football' era of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff, and, as will be the case this weekend, also featured an English referee in Jack Taylor.
But defeat to a technically inferior but tactically more astute West Germany was followed by a similar outcome in Argentina four years later, when Michels and Cruyff were no longer around but legends such as Johan Neeskens and Ruud Krol still were to bring a sense of flair to the 'Oranje'.
So, having won plaudits but no prizes all those years ago, Robben is quite happy to have the workmanlike tag attached to the present side. All he cares about is the result.
"I would much prefer to win a very ugly game than lose a beautiful one," said the former Chelsea star.
"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."
That is not to say Holland are without talent.
Wesley Sneijder has enjoyed an outstanding tournament and is now on the brink of emulating Pele's achievement in 1962 by adding the World Cup to a treble achieved on club duty with Inter Milan.
Little wonder Manchester United are so interested in the midfield schemer.
As United found to their cost in the Champions League quarter-finals, Robben still packs a powerful punch too, although the 26-year-old continues to be plagued by a hamstring injury picked up before the tournament began.
"I don't think I have been quite at my best because occasionally I still suffer some pain," he said.
"It doesn't stop me playing, but it would not be truthful to say I am pain-free.
"It is getting better, however, it is not perfect and I am just doing as much as I possibly can."
With Dirk Kuyt buzzing around in his usual industrious manner and Robin van Persie proving to be a fairly effective battering ram, whose lack of goals is compensated for by the efforts of Sneijder and Robben, Spain know defensively they will have to be on high alert.
There are connections between the two camps.
Pepe Reina has already revealed he has been in text contact with Liverpool team-mate Kuyt.
It seems Robben is not as close with Spain skipper Iker Casillas, who until last summer he shared a dressing room with at Real Madrid.
"I have had no contact with him," said Robben.
"It is something that is not important. I do not need friends. I want to be world champion."
Judging by the respective semi-final performances this week, Holland's main problem will be getting hold of the ball and then keeping it for any significant length of time.
The task proved beyond Germany's youngsters in Durban on Wednesday, although the robust approach of midfield anchor Mark van Bommel might mean Holland have more success is they can apply pressure to Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Van Bommel cannot shake Spain up on his own.
Robben realises his Bayern Munich team-mate is going to need help. And he knows there is no-one in the Dutch squad too precious to supply it.
"We will defend from the front," he said.
"No-one here feels they are too special to get their hands dirty.
"I was really surprised with how freely Germany let Spain play on Wednesday. We have to start pressing them earlier, and far higher up the field."
History beckons and Amsterdam is waiting to party.
Having won all eight games - including two defeats of Scotland - to reach South Africa and six more to get to the final, the men tasked with wearing those distinctive orange shirts are determined not to let anyone down now.
"We won every qualifying game and then every game since we have been here," said Sneijder.
"We are not going to allow Spain to beat us now."