Dutch defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst said he plans to celebrate his 100th cap against Denmark with a victory on Monday and wants to be a FIFA World Cup™ winner next month.
The 35-year-old will be on the left side of Holland's defence for their opening match against the Danes at Soccer City Stadium on Monday. And he hopes to be back at the Johannesburg venue which hosts next month's final on July 11.
"It will be good to have reached the 100-caps milestone, but it is more important to get the win," said Van Bronckhorst, who will retire after South Africa 2010. "For a player, it is wonderful to win awards and prizes, that is what you do it for and I have won almost everything I can in my career, apart from the World Cup. This is my last chance and I hope we will be sat here in a few weeks talking about winning it."
The Dutch have never won a FIFA World Cup, but reached the final at both the 1974 and 1978 finals. They have a reputation as group-stage heroes, knock-out phase zeros and Van Bronckhorst says the current squad -- boasting stars like Robin van Persie, Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder -- are eager to correct that.
"We have seen that before," said the Feyenoord left-back, who won the UEFA Champions League title at Barcelona in 2006. "I think it started in 1974. At World Cups and European Championships, we have always played good football, but we lose when push comes to shove in the group stages. We have never been able to do that and I hope we can here."
The Dutch are favourites to win Group E, but Van Bronckhorst says the current squad has learned the lessons from UEFA EURO 2008, when they beat both Italy and France in the groups stages only to go out to Russia in the quarter-finals.
"As a team we are very strong and we have players who can make a difference in the match," he said with the Dutch set to face Cameroon and Japan in Group E. We have to operate as a team, but we also have players who can win games and we have grown as a team. We have to continue on that path for this World Cup."