Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Van Bronckhorst milestone marks Netherlands opener

Preview: Netherlands v Denmark: Today, 12.30pm, ITV1

Published 14/06/2010

Giovanni van Bronckhorst of Netherlands celebrates scoring
Giovanni van Bronckhorst of Netherlands celebrates scoring

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a veteran of half a dozen major tournaments, will begin the latest one by making his 100th international appearance as the Netherlands open Group E against Denmark at Soccer City today.

At 35, it is expected to be his last World Cup, and without wanting to talk up the team's apparently bright prospects, he is desperate that the Dutch should finally win something again, 22 years after romping to success at the European Championships in Germany.

"I suppose it all started at the 1974 World Cup," he said yesterday. "At the European Championship and World Cup we've always shown good football. We've got to make sure we can be consistent and I think we've shown over the last two years that we've a team that desperately want to become champions."

In that period the Oranje joined Spain as the only European team to win every qualifying match, in their case conceding only two goals and winning the group by 14 points. The last two warm-up matches have brought victories over Ghana by 4-1 and Hungary by 6-1, extending an unbeaten run that stretches back to September 2008. Arjen Robben injured a thigh in the Hungary game and will be replaced today by Rafael van der Vaart.

Van Bronckhorst will captain the side from left-back, a position he settled into at Barcelona after moving from the Netherlands to Rangers and then Arsenal, where a bad knee injury hampered his chances of winning a regular place in midfield.

What to watch out for

Denmark coach Morten Olsen is desperate to have Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner fit after a groin strain, in which case he is likely to play alongside two former Premier League forwards still going strong in Jon Dahl Tomasson and Dennis Rommedahl. It should be both an attacking game and a colourful occasion.

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph