Van Marwijk looks to move forward

The Dutch defied expectations to reach the final in South Africa

but came up short when it mattered most, conceding a 1-0 extra-time

loss in what was the only competitive defeat of van Marwijk’s reign

to date. Holland return to competitive action on Friday, eight

weeks on from the final in Johannesburg, with a Euro 2012 qualifier

against San Marino, and van Marwijk admits he has needed every

moment of the past two months to recover from the Oranje’s South

African adventure. “After the World Cup, I was completely empty,”

said van Marwijk. “Remember that it was something unique, not only

in perception but also in duration. We are talking about a period

of 10 weeks. “Think of the previous tournaments where the Oranje

went a long way, in 1974, 1978, 1988. These were much smaller

tournaments, with fewer participants, shorter preparation, and also

far less media attention.” Van Marwijk was forced to ring the

changes in his first competitive squad announcement since the World

Cup, with Ryan Babel, Stijn Schaars and Edson Braafheid dropped and

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Andre Ooijer and Sander Boschker out of

the picture due to retirement. Injuries to Bayern Munich winger

Arjen Robben and Arsenal striker Robin van Persie have also

depleted van Marwijk’s stocks, meaning the likes of Ruud van

Nistelrooy, Ron Vlaar, Erik Pieters, Vurnon Anita, Jeremain Lens,

Theo Janssen and Hedwiges Maduro have all been drafted in. Despite

the changes in personnel, van Marwijk insists he will not be

altering his tactical approach to fit the new faces, and will

expect his new charges to adapt to his methods if selected. “I’ve

never made any secret of my methods. These are my opinions – they

are not the truth or anything. There are so many other visions that

lead to success. But if you look around you, it is true that you

can see that many top countries and top teams operate in that way,”

he said. “I think stability and clarity is the strength of the

team. Players must know what is asked of them when a job is

entrusted to them.” Friday’s qualifier in San Marino is followed

four days later by their second Group E outing against Finland in

Rotterdam.