Rafael hails boss Marco
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Rafael van der Vaart feels Marco van Basten is deserving of tremendous credit.
Rafael van der Vaart feels Marco van Basten is deserving of tremendous credit for uniting the Dutch camp.
Holland have often blown their chances at major finals on account of infighting in the camp.
It was feared that this year's young Oranje squad would tread a similar path, but they have bonded superbly and are one of the favourites for the tournament.
Hamburg star van der Vaart feels the credit for keeping the players focused on their target must go to the coach.
"The team spirit has really improved a lot and now it is very special to be part of this team," said van der Vaart.
The gifted midfielder believes van Basten is able to relate to the players.
"Van Basten is also a younger coach than his predecessors and is close to the squad," added the midfielder. "He knows exactly what is going on and what we need."
Liverpool star Jan Kromkamp has found himself stuck on the bench so far, but would be happy for it to continue as long as the Dutch lift the trophy.
"Of course I want to play, but above all I am a Dutchman," said the defender.
"I don't want my team-mates to get suspended or injured. I want Holland to win the World Cup.
"Realistically, there will be changes. All I can do is keep working hard and hope to get noticed."
The Dutch are riding the crest of a wave at present and Arjen Robben says they would not be worried about who they meet in the knockout stages.
"We could meet England in the quarter finals, but I don't mind who we play in the knockout phase, as we're not afraid of anybody," said the Chelsea winger.
"We're only looking at ourselves and there is more to come from Holland."