Maarten Stekelenburg has not one but two crosses to bear at the FIFA World Cup™.

He is a member of the latest Netherlands side trying to lift the trophy for the first time and he is also trying to shake off the label of being the goalkeeper who followed in the footsteps of the great Edwin van der Sar.

The 27-year-old Ajax shot-stopper has measured up pretty well so far in South Africa, conceding just two goals, both from penalties, and he has earned high praise from Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk.

Van Marwijk was especially impressed by Stekelenburg's performance in the Round of 16 game against Slovakia which the Dutch won 2-1

"Maarten was exceptional, he saved us and allowed us to stay in control at a delicate moment of the match," said Van Marwijk, who will be looking for a similarly assured performance against five-time world champions Brazil in Friday's quarter-final in Port Elizabeth.

Stekelenburg, who replaced Van der Sar after Euro 2008 when the Manchester United number one retired from international football for the second time, had already shown he was made of the right stuff in conceding just two goals in the eight qualifying matches he played in.

However, his place as national number one looked to be in danger 18 months ago when he was dropped at Ajax by former coach Marco van Basten and replaced by the younger Kenneth Vermeer.

"Van Basten told me off for having become complacent," explained Stekelenburg, who stands at an impressive 1.94m. "That stunned me because I couldn't get enough of training, and I was certainly not lazy."

Van Marwijk has always retained confidence in me even when I wasn't first choice at Ajax. His support did me a world of good.

Maarten Stekelenburg, Dutch goalkeeper

However, he bears no malice towards the former AC Milan and Dutch striking great, who went on to coach the Netherlands at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and EURO 2008.

"That said, I have no bitterness towards what was said at the time. Van Basten was right on one thing: I was not playing well.

However, he has regained the confidence of not only Ajax curent coach Martin Jol but also Van Marwijk.

"Mister Van Marwijk has always retained confidence in me even when I wasn't first choice at Ajax," Stekelenburg added. "His support did me a world of good. And also he has never evoked in front of me or the press how I was the successor to Van der Sar".

However, he is honest enough to admit that there are still sceptics to be won over. Before the Slovakia game he said: "If I commit a blunder, they will say to me 'That ball there, Van der Sar would have saved'."