Van Basten urges restraint after Italian job

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Holland coach says Monday’s game was a good game, but it is time to come back to planet Earth and start again.

13 June 2008

LAUSANNE - After their gold medal winning display against Italy, there could have been few more appropriate settings for Holland coach Marco van Basten to meet the media ahead of Friday's France clash than in the plush surroundings of Lausanne's Olympic Stadium.

The Dutch go into their second Group C game against the French in Berne knowing a win will see them safely out of the clutches of the group of death with a game to spare.

But despite all the euphoria generated by their three-star demolition of the world champions on Monday van Basten was keen to inject a note of caution.

"We've played a good game, but it's only one game. We have to come back with our feet on planet Earth and start again.

"To keep that level up is not an easy challenge for us - we'll see tomorrow (Friday) if we can play a game like last Monday again.

"The France match is very important, it's going to be difficult. They have a lot of experience and we have to try and come out well from this game."

Van Basten reported that Arjen Robben, who missed out on the Italy win with a groin strain, was fully recovered quicker than anticipated.

"I'm happy he's fit, he trained normally with the rest of the group this morning."
Whilst he may be fit, Robben is not certain to figure from the start against the French.

"Bringing him back into a winning team is a luxury problem to have," noted van Basten who has silenced the critics back home with Monday's sizzling win.

"I pray it's bought me some peace," smiled the coach who is moving to Ajax after the championships.

In stark contrast to the Dutch France's opening game was pretty dire, ending in a goalless draw against Romania but van Basten said he had not been in the least but surprised by the nature and result of that game in Zurich.

"We have a lot of experience with the Romanians, we lost and drew against them in qualifying.

"They don't give a lot of space so it's very difficult to create chances. We know all about them."

Assessing Friday's game the former striker whose spectacular goal helped the Dutch to the 1988 title remarked: "We've already beaten Italy, France will have to attack more than us but we have that mentality of going forward so perhaps the truth will be found in midfield."

Van Basten was flanked at the press conference by Holland captain Edwin van der Sar, who is going for a unique treble after winning the Premier League and Champions League with Manchester United.

He like van Basten played the realism card, saying: "This side can be very good, but we're still in the early stages.

"I remember two weeks before the end of the season the press started talking about how good this United team were but we still didn't have anything in our hands to show for it.

"Of course we played well, but we still have to train and rest and recover for the next game."

[AFP / Expatica]

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