Huntelaar, Robben eager to feature at World Cup

BY foxsports • March 2, 2010

Forwards Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Arjen Robben already have the World Cup on their minds ahead of the Netherlands' friendly against the United States.

Huntelaar, who could make his debut for the Netherlands against the U.S., says he is targeting reaching the finals of the June 11-July 11 tournament in South Africa.

"We have to show ourselves and be in the finals of 2010," said the AC Milan striker. "We were in quarterfinals and semifinals, but unfortunately we didn't reach finals or win finals."

Huntelaar, if he does start against the U.S., could team up with Bayern Munich's Robben and Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt up front. Calling the World Cup a "great tournament," Robben said he had always dreamt of being part of it since he was a kid.

"I think that's the best stage to perform on and I am looking forward to it," said Robben, who made his World Cup finals debut in 2006.

Wednesday's meeting against Bert van Marwijk's side gives U.S. coach Bob Bradley the last chance to take a closer look at his players before he names his World Cup squad. Its opponents in Group C are England, Algeria and Slovenia.

The Netherlands, which is to meet Cameroon, Denmark and Japan in Group E, will play the Black Stars of Ghana June 1 in another international friendly, then meet Hungary four days later, before heading to South Africa.

Apart from long-term absentee Robin van Persie, coach Van Marwijk has no injury concerns, leaving him with plenty of options in attack, where wingers Eljero Elia or Ryan Babel are also potential starters.

Manchester City regular Nigel de Jong is set to partner Van Marwijk's son-in-law Mark van Bommel in midfield along with Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder.

If he plays, U.S. striker DaMarcus Beasley will come across familiar faces in the Dutch defense.

Everton defender John Heitinga and Hamburg's Joris Mathijsen all played in the Dutch league for Ajax and AZ Alkmaar during Beasley's three-year stint with PSV Eindhoven. Another Dutch defender Andre Ooijer was Beasley's teammate between 2004 and 2006 before he opted to move to Blackburn Rovers.

Gregory van der Wiel's position at rightback seems uncontested. The same goes for leftback Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who is expected to feature against the U.S. even though he missed training Monday with a minor injury.

Van Marwijk said Ron Vlaar, back for the Netherlands after more than four years out with a series of injuries, would also play.

"You can't compare me with the boys from then," said the Feyenoord defender, who last featured for the Netherlands in November 2005. "Then, my selection came from nothing. I am now 25 and my status has changed."

The U.S will be missing several players because of injuries. AC Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu didn't travel with the team because he has a knee injury.

Hannover defender Steve Cherundolo hurt his shoulder in practice Jan. 31 while Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey is out with a knee injury although he is expected to be fit in time for the World Cup.


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