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Van Marwijk: Six of the best

3 June 2012 01:39

Bert van Marwijk has praised Netherlands for their goalscoring exploits in the 6-0 demolition of Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Braces from Robin van Persie and Ibrahim Afellay, along with individual strikes from Wesley Sneijder and Ron Vlaar put Oranje on the best footing possible ahead of their Group B opener against Denmark on June 9.

Speaking after the match, van Marwijk noted that while there is no room for complacency at international level, he was encouraged by what he saw at the Amsterdam ArenA.

"We played against a moderate opponent," van Marwijk said after the match. "Our execution is getting better and that makes me happy.

"We were sloppy at times, but there were some very good attacks and great goals on show. We should not get ahead of ourselves because we're not there yet. But we are on the right track."

Van Marwijk entrusted Van Persie with the responsibility of leading the line against Michael O'Neill's side, but while the Arsenal forward repaid his coach's faith with a brace, the 60-year-old is still considering his options.

"I've now received confirmation on two things - we are now stronger in wide areas and also stronger than we were two years ago during the World Cup," he continued.

"However, nothing is for certain, so Rafael van der Vaart may still start the first game."

The trainer also spoke cautiously of returning duo Sneijder and Afellay, who both scored on Saturday night to boost their chances of starting next week's group opener against the Danes.

"I have left Sneijder out (up to this point of the preparations) because of his groin pain," he explained.

"I think he's not far away from playing a full game, but I must be careful. The same applies to Afellay."

Wesley Sneijder also reassured Rafael van der Vaart, Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar and Dirk Kuyt that they will all be given a role to play in Netherlands' EURO 2012 campaign.

The trio have struggled for game time during pre-tournament preparations, leading to mounting suggestions that they are on the out in Poland and Ukraine.

However, Inter playmaker Sneijder insists his international team-mates are invaluable to the nation's chances of success this summer.

"We are good friends," he said after the game at Amsterdam ArenA.

"Of course we talk a lot with each other. The tournament will be long, so there are chances for all the players.

"We need everyone if we want to win the European Championship. Rafael (van der Vaart) knows what his qualities are, and so do we."

"Kuyt and Huntelaar will both get their chances and then they will be there to improve."

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