The Netherlands team headed by Louis van Gaal have arrived in their pre-tournament training base ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The key man Arjen Robben however has yet to join up with the team.
The Oranje began their preparations for world cup with a 1-1 draw against Ecuador in Amsterdam at the weekend. They are now counting down the days until June 13 kick-off against current world cup holder Spain.
Arjen Robben helped Bayern Munich complete a domestic double by scoring the first goal in Saturday’s German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund. Robben has been afforded a few days rest by his manager and is set to join the Dutch Squad on Thursday.
According to Reuters report, a group of 25 Dutch players headed to the Algarve where they will start training under coach van Gaal. The squad will be captained by Robin Van Persie. Van Gaal has a plan to link him up with at Manchester United next term after recently being announced as the permanent successor to David Moyes.
The Netherlands are experimenting with a new 5-3-2 formation shape, in which Robben is expected to join Van Persie in attacking position. They will head back to Rotterdam for a friendly match against Ghana on May 31 and four days later they will be taking on Wales in Amsterdam. The squad then leave for Brazil as they take on Spain in Salvador, Brazil.
The world cup preparation for the Dutch team have been somewhat overshadowed by Van Gaal’s personal developments at Manchester United, but the focus is now fully on matters Oranje as they try to go one step further than they did in 2010 FIFA World Cup Final in South Africa, four years ago. In their Group B, Netherlands will face Australia and Chile in addition to Spain.