Wesley Sneijder is convinced we will beat the Germans. “It can’t be that I have been playing qualification games for two years only for us to go home after three matches?!”.
The little big man has made his way to the press after the “closed off practice session”. The media wanted to see Van Persie and Huntelaar too but these two decided to pass the opportunity on. Sneijder: “I get that. There has been so much humbug around those two. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is an expert.”
The Inter playmaker told the coach what his preference is. “But I’m sure you will accept it if I don’t tell you about it, hahaha. And it’s not that important, what I say. They’re both world class striker. And the coach decides. What is key, is that everyone is totally focused against Germany. The heads need to be free from stress and shit.”
Sneijder knows Oranje needs to play different against Germany. “We missed a lot of chances and opportunities but we also lacked discipline. At a certain point, everybody was out of position. That is killing, even against so-called smaller football nations. Against Germany, we need to be watertight. They are so quick in the turnaround. They beat us recently in the friendly and at the World Cup they eliminated England and Argentina.”
When confronted with the hilarious “egoland vs legoland” headline of that Belgium paper, he smiles. “It’s normal that some players have a bigger ego now. Huntelaar is the Bundesliga top scorer. Of course he wants to play. And De Jong won the title in England. He is allowed to be pissed off when he’s subbed. And I don’t hear anyone talk about Kuyt. But he was a starter for many years and now he’s benched and you don’t hear him, do you? All credits for Dirk.”
How do you do this exactly? Controlling the ball with the chin?
Is the vibe different then 2 years back? “Of course. We won everything until the finals. And listen, we don’t have to be all mates, do we? This group will stick together though and will not disperse into little clans. If that happens, I will lash out. Because I’m here to win this.”
Robin van Persie is Oranje’s first penalty taker. This is what Robben said. Holland deserved a penalty in the Denmark game and Arjen Robben told the media that if the ref would have given it, it would have been Van Persie behind the ball.”
Rafa van der Vaart is a little bit down. The 97 times capped midfielder can’t see a major role for himself, despite his passionately desired starting berth.
“I have to face it, the chance is small that the coach changes something. I think Van Marwijk has his team in his head and I’m not in it. We have seen that he doesn’t change a lot. That is great when you are in the starting eleven but sucks when you are on the bench.”
The media suggested that he was mentally bruised. Van der Vaart shrugs that off. “That is highly exaggerated. I never said that. But it is true that it is hard for me to be totally eager and motivated every day. Some days are easier than others. I am simply disappointed. I give it my all but it doesn’t change a thing. I will always give 100% during practice because the squad deserves this. And I love the game too much to ever wing it, you know. And I don’t think players should demand things or slam their fist on the table. As a player, you have to accept what the coach wants. Simple. But I do believe I have a right to voice my disappointment….”
The Spurs midfielder was allowed 20 minutes against Denmark. “That didn’t go too well… It was a mess that last phase. Everyone was out of position. The field was too long… I tried to take risks in my passing but they didn’t connect. What a game. First I had to wait 10 minutes before the ball went out of play. It sucks, I am in form and I want to be important for the team…”
The desire to win a prize is huge in Arjen Robben. The 28 year old Bayern winger realises that one doesn’t get too many chances to win one.
Robben feels it has to happen now, at this Euros. But we do need to wipe the disgracefull loss against Denmark of the board. And we can do so against Germany. Losing most likely means going home.
“It’s all or nothing against Germany,” Robben says. The ex Groningen player doesn’t enjoy finals. As if these games are jinxed. Twice this season, he could touch the main prize but twice he saw it evaporate thanks to him missing a penalty. First against Dortmund for the title and secondly against Chelsea for the CL.
“That last one was a massive blow. We had a match point a number of times and you fail. That is tough. I though, my Lord, I won’t win anything ever again. I need time to give that one a spot, you know. And the facts are not goodL I played one World Cup finals and two CL finals and lost them all. But then again, to lose them you do need to get there and play them… There’s still lots of players who will never even play a World Cup finals.”
Will you carry this with you into the Germany game? “No, I don’t think so. But it hurts. And it still hurts thinking about it. The Chelsea one in particular, we were so close and we deserved it so much. We were totally dominating the game. But it doesn’t count. This is something I will have to live with.”
Do you believe in a higher power? “No, I don’t have any faith or religion or anything. But I do wonder: why does this happen…That last time, I actually wanted to quit altogether. Like I won’t win this ever so let’s retire. But then I go: I still have a couple of good years in me so I can still win it.”
So what is the best trophy you won? “The title with Bayern was pretty good. My first season at Bayern was tremendous. The lost World Cup finals doesn’t count as a trophy. Second places don’t count.”
And so, the former PSV, Chelsea and Real Madrid winger still waits on his big trophy. With another finals around the corner. “It’s all or nothing. But we’re confident. We need to win and we will win. And then we will turn this thing around.”