Profile of Dutch coach

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:01 PM ET

JOHANNESBURG - Everybody seemed to be laughing two years ago when Bert Van Marwijk vowed that the goal of The Netherlands was to win a World Cup at South Africa 2010.

Everybody, that is, except Van Marwijk.

Much like his Spanish counterpart, Vincente Del Bosque, the Dutch manager hasn’t been seen exchanging a lot of yuks here, whether it be during games or at his press conferences.

It’s been all business for Van Marwijk, even after he led The Netherlands to its first World Cup title game in 32 years.

Throughout the entire tournament, Van Marwijk has been battling more than just opposing teams. He’s been fighting the past.

Almost every time he faces the media, he is asked the same things.

About how the Dutch have always had star-studded lineups but underachieved. About what he plans to do to change history, one in which The Netherlands has lost both their previous appearances in World Cup championship matches, in 1974 and 1978.

He does not like the comparisons.

According to Van Marwijk, this edition of Team Oranje does not have the “arrogance” of past Dutch squads. It is a Netherlands side that actually knows how to play responsible defence, a claim previous Dutch teams could not always make.

But the job is not done, according to the Dutch manager. Not until Spain becomes the final victim of his team’s path to glory.

“It is quite something we have achieved but we are not there yet,” Van Marwijk said.

Under his watch, the Dutch have reeled off 14 consecutive World Cup-related victories -- eight in qualifying games, six more here at South Africa 2010.

If they make it 15 against the Spanish on Sunday, Van Marwijk, once mocked in 2008 for his goal of winning a World Cup, certainly will have the final laugh.

THE VAN MARWIJK FILE

Name: Bert Van Marwijk

Manager, The Netherlands

Age: 58

Has led the Netherlands to 26 wins, one loss and six draws since taking over as manager in 2008 ... In 2002, he led Feyenoord to the UEFA Cup ... A forward and midfielder, he played 393 matches in the Dutch elite league ... Collected one cap for the Netherlands national team.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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