On Monday, the day after arriving in Johannesburg from Amsterdam, the Netherlands squad took to the training ground in South Africa for the first time. With the sun beating down and temperatures soaring, coach Bert van Marwijk supervised an hour-long work-out, before the players took questions from reporters. The only man missing was injured winger Arjen Robben.
"I’d like to praise everyone who’s played a part in arranging such fantastic training conditions here,” said Van Marwijk, impressed by the facilities at Wits University in Johannesburg, where the Dutch will train at least until the end of the group phase. The players themselves came across as relaxed and in extremely good spirits, an impression Mark van Bommel confirmed to FIFA.com. "Yes, the mood in the dressing room’s very good indeed,” the midfielder stated.
Team-mate Robben is currently still in his home country, working hard on a swift recovery in time to feature at the FIFA World Cup as soon as possible. The 26-year-old pulled a hamstring in a friendly against Hungary last Saturday, and has now turned to renowned physiotherapist Dick van Toorn for assistance.
"My experience of Van Toorn was very good. He helped me a lot on one occasion in the past. I have complete faith in his ability to get me fit for the World Cup,” Robben declared in a telephone interview. The player began a sports rehab programme early on Monday morning. "I’m very hopeful. We’ll have to see how quickly I start making progress."
Van Bommel is banking on the winger making a swift return. "We hope we’ll have him back very soon,” the 33-year-old remarked, "Arjen is a very good forward. Every team in the world would be glad to have an attacking player like him.”
Otherwise, Bayern Munich captain Van Bommel is impressed by what he has seen in South Africa so far. "A great pitch, great weather, fantastic hotel – we want to get started," he said.