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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup chit-chat: Chile will give the Dutch a real challenge, says Van Persie

World Cup chit-chat: Chile will give the Dutch a real challenge, says Van Persie

June 21, 2014 16:51 IST

World Cup chit-chat: Chile will give the Dutch a real challenge, says Van Persie

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Chile will pose a real challenge for the Netherlands in their final World Cup Group B match on Monday and the Dutch will have to work hard for the draw they need to finish top, striker Robin van Persie said on Friday.

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The Dutch, who like the Chileans won their first two games, only need a draw because their goal difference is much better.

Chile beat Australia 3-1 and stunned world champions Spain 2-0.

"They looked very good. They looked fit, they look strong, they play together," Van Persie told a news conference.

"I think that four or five players made Spain's life very hard. So we've got a big task. It will be very hard to at least draw against them," he said.

If the Dutch win their group they will meet the runners-up in Group A, which looks like being either Mexico or Croatia. If they come second, they could well end up playing Brazil.

"We want to secure first place and then we'll see what happens," said the 30-year-old Van Persie.

Van Persie, suspended for the Chile game after picking up two yellow cards in the first two matches, brushed off talk about becoming the top scorer at the tournament.

"The main thing is to qualify for the next round, and the round after, and the round after that and do well as a country," he said.

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Image: Robin van Persie holds his daughter, Dina Layla van Persie during the Netherlands training session
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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Cautious Germany wary of 'second match syndrome'

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Germany must guard against complacency following their 4-0 demolition of Portugal in their World Cup opener when they face Ghana on Saturday, coach Joachim Loew said.

The Germans have a recent habit of starting major tournaments strongly but struggling in their second game.

They thrashed Australia 4-0 in their first game at the last World Cup before losing to Serbia in their next match. At Euro 2008 they beat Poland in their first outing but then lost to Croatia.

"It's great to win the first match but it's important to continue," Loew told a news conference ahead of Saturday's Group G match. "We have to be very careful.

"Look at Italy here, losing to Costa Rica in their second match, and the Netherlands almost losing to Australia. We need to stay focused."

Loew said central defender Mats Hummels is still not 100 per cent fit and could miss Saturday's match after hobbling off against Portugal with a severely bruised thigh.

If Hummels fails to recover, Loew could bring in Shkodran Mustafi, who replaced him against the Portuguese. Defensive midfielder Matthias Ginter would be another option.

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Image: Head cooach Joachim Loew, right, battles for the ball with Thomas Mueller during the training at Campo Bahia
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images

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England job would interest me, one day: Mourinho

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The opportunity to manage the England national team in the future is something that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho would welcome because he likes the country "very, very much."

Roy Hodgson's side were knocked out of the World Cup in Brazil after Costa Rica beat Group D rivals Italy 1-0 on Friday but Mourinho ruled out any prospect of taking on the England job any time soon.

Asked if he would ever manage England, the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto coach told ITV News: "Yes. Not now, not seven years ago when I had the chance.

"I made the right decision then, my wife helped me make the right decision," added Mourinho in a reference to when his first spell at Chelsea came to an end in 2007.

"Not now. No way. I'm too young, too strong, have too much appetite to train every day, to play every game, to play three times a week. But I like your country very, very much. I feel at home," said Mourinho.

"Of course the passport doesn't change, the heart doesn't change. I'm Portuguese 100 per cent."

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Image: Jose Mourinho
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Brazil training questioned, players must improve

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Brazil's first team have not trained as a unit since Tuesday's draw with Mexico, prompting concerns over the lack of urgency in a side that were disappointing in their opening two World Cup games.

Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has long known his starting 11 and that team beat Croatia 3-1 in the tournament opener. He made one change to the side that drew 0-0- with Mexico, bringing in Ramires for Hulk, who had been suffering with a thigh injury.

Scolari led a technical training session on Friday, at which players practised drills as separate defensive and attacking units.

The squad had a day off after the scoreless draw in Fortaleza and the first team were spared training on Thursday because of heavy rain.

With only two more opportunities to drill the first 11 before they face Cameroon in Brasilia on Monday, some observers have questioned Scolari's methods.

"They've got the training wrong," Dada Maravilha, a former player and now TV commentator said at Brazil's base camp outside Rio de Janeiro.

"This is the World Cup, you should be training the team, working them together. Brazil need to perform much better than they've performed up to now."

The host nation are seeking to secure first place in Group A against Cameroon to secure a last 16 encounter with the loser of the Group B match between the Netherlands and Chile. Brazil top the group with four points, ahead of Mexico on goal difference.

Centre half David Luiz said the players were still adjusting to a more competitive level after the Confederations Cup and a year of friendlies. As host nation, Brazil qualified automatically for the 2014 World Cup.

Cameroon are bottom of the group having lost both their games to Mexico and Croatia.


Image: Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari of Brazil
Photographs: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

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