Rafael van der Vaart: no hope lost for Holland

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Where there’s hope, there’s Rafael van der Vaart. The Holland playmaker says there’s still a good chance that the Oranje will advance to the knock-out stages of Euro 2012. Holland, he promises, will give all they have against Portugal in Sunday’s deciding match in Group B.

“I always look on the bright side. There’ve been better football times, but I guess we just have to deal with this. If you win, everything looks easy and you have more friends. Now, we’re left to our own devices and have to make it happen all by ourselves. But that of course makes this situation special too. Many people have already written us off, but I believe that if you still have a chance, you have to go for it and give all you have.”

After two painful defeats against Denmark and Germany, the Dutch now need to beat Portugal by a margin of at least two goals to keep their chances of proceeding to the quarter finals alive. That’s a tall order, given that Holland have beaten the selecção only once before and that was over two decades ago. Van der Vaart, though, is banking on a reversal of fortunes:

“In the opening match, we had 25 chances but failed to score and eventually lost 1-0 to Denmark in a very clumsy way. But suppose we had won, everything would have been different. Of course, Germany left us no chance in the second match; they scored two beautiful first-half goals. Now, we have to go full steam ahead, go on the offensive and score two goals more than Portugal. Many people might find this hard to believe but everything is still possible. We believe in it, we really do.”

Football on TV
Van der Vaart says he has little time to watch other matches in the tournament.

“This may sound strange, but there’s so much football on tv. I look up occasionally to watch highlights of a match. We play cards and try to have a good time, but I’m not going to watch two full matches on Sunday night.”

How about tonight?

“Yes, Sweden v England should be a good game. England should win that one, as far as I’m concerned.”

And then? England against Holland in the final perhaps?

“Haha, I guess that’s still a long way off.”