Ron Vlaar: Netherlands want World Cup revenge over Spain

Louis Van Gaal

Dutch centre-back targeting revenge over current World Cup holders for their 2010 final defeat.

With the Netherlands facing Spain in their opening World Cup game on June 13, defender Ron Vlaar is targeting revenge against their Group B rivals for their narrow 2010 final defeat.

Vlaar was not part of the Dutch squad in South Africa which fell to Vincente Del Bosque’s side 1-0 in extra time, with Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Nigel de Jong and Dirk Kuyt the only survivors to return for 2014.

While the Aston Villa captain narrowly missed out on selection four years ago, having been named in preliminary squad, he is pencilled in to start alongside Feyenoord’s Bruno Martins Indi and Stefan de Vrij as part of a back five this summer.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the centre-back said: “It should always burn inside to make something right. To play against Spain now in the first game is a great challenge.

“They have really good players but we also have very good players. We have to be strong as a team, work hard together and then we can achieve.”

At 29 years old, Vlaar is the veteran of a promising but young and unproven Dutch defence which will need the experience of the former Feyenoord man for Brazil.

In stark contrast to their star-laden attack, the unit has come under serious scrutiny in the run up to the tournament, despite an impressive qualifying record of only five goals conceded in 10 games.

In the absence of injured defensive midfielder Kevin Strootman, manager Louis van Gaal has ditched the country's traditional 4-3-3 in favour of an old school 5-3-2 system, which it’s hoped will hide some of the team’s supposed frailties at the back against the attacking flair of Spain and Chile.

With van Gaal also notably set to depart for Manchester United after the World Cup, Vlaar himself has recently been linked with a move to Old Trafford to join up with his current national team coach.

The club could certainly do with reinforcements in defence, after the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, while Aston Villa’s current financial situation could make them willing sellers.

However, Vlaar’s immediate concerns will be on helping lead the Dutch out of one of the tournament’s toughest groups, as they try to make amends for falling at the final hurdle last time around.

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