Netherlands supremo coach Bert van Marwijk is adamant his side deserve credit for reaching the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, despite the perceived weakness of their qualifying group.

The Dutch became the first European nation to qualify thanks to victory over Iceland on 6 June, a result which made it six wins out of six in Group 9.

Section rivals Scotland, Norway, FYR Macedonia and Icelandic have provided scant resistance in the face of Van Marwijk's troops, who have hit 14 goals and conceded just two in their qualifying campaign thus far.

Nevertheless, the coach insists the Netherlands' achievement should not be downplayed: "Everyone said that it was an easy group, but when you win six games in a row that deserves a big compliment."

The Oranje's win in Reykjavik on Saturday evening was as hard-fought as the 2-1 scoreline suggested. Goals from Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel put the Dutch in control before Kristjan Orn Sigurdsson headed a late consolation to make for a nervy finish.

(There was) an enormous release of emotions. We have proven ourselves as a real team.

Oranje coach Bert van Marwijk

"I have really enjoyed the first half, but the second half a little less because we missed so many chances," said Van Marwijk.

"You ought to score at least four or five goals against this Iceland team. Iceland are the weakest opponent we have played so far. A two-goal margin kept things tricky.

"We played too nonchalantly at the end of the first half. We overcomplicated things and gave the opponents belief they could win a point."

The coach added that his job has been made easier by early qualification for South Africa 2010.

"I like the fact that we have qualified, that it is done," he said. "We now have a lot of time to prepare for the World Cup."

The Netherlands' tendency to underperform at major tournaments will again weigh on the minds of Dutch football's governing body, the KNVB, but that has not stopped them demanding at least a semi-final appearance at next year's showpiece.

"It's fine that people have ambition," Van Marwijk said. "No one has to put pressure on me, I do that myself. You have to play for the highest position possible, always.

"Do we see this qualification as a prize? Well, if you go by what happened in the changing room (after the match), yes. (There was) an enormous release of emotions. We have proven ourselves as a real team."