Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk expects a more aggressive Japan than the last time the sides met in a friendly last year. The Dutch face Japan tomorrow in Durban on the back of a 2-0 win against Denmark in their opening FIFA World Cup™ Group E match.
The Dutch were frustrated by Japan for over an hour before beating them 3-0 back in September.
"This is going to be a tougher fight," said Van Marwijk. "Both teams want to win and both sides won their first match. We cannot compare that game to this one. I expect a very aggressive Japan and we are prepared for everything and anything."
Van Marwijk believes Japan have improved since then and that was evident in their 1-0 triumph over Cameroon in their opener.
"They have progressed a lot," he said. "They have been together for a long time and have played lots of matches. They have been looking for some time to find a style of play which they didn't have in qualifying.
"But they appear to have found that style. I have a lot of respect for the Japan coach and his team and we will not be underestimating them."
Van Marwijk believes the Oranje must focus on themselves and not on their rivals.
"People who know me know that I concentrate on my team and I don't make adjustments based on our rivals," he said. "We have to play the way we know how and make the most of our chances."
Lots of players eat sushi in our team and we hope we will have them for dinner tomorrow!
The Oranje will have plenty of support tomorrow in Durban with thousands of fans having travelled to South Africa while there is plenty of optimism back home regarding the team's chances to go far in the tournament.
"We hear a lot about the atmosphere back home and this is great," said Van Marwijk. "We also have lots of fans here and it's wonderful that they have travelled such a long way to support us. But we have a long way to go and the most important thing is tomorrow's match."
Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben trained with the team for the first time today after sitting out the match against Denmark with a hamstring injury. Whether Robben will be given playing time tomorrow, remains to be seen.
"It's quite something that he trained with us today," said Van Marwijk. "But we have to wait and see how he responds tomorrow."
Striker Dirk Kuyt, who scored his team's second against Denmark, is set to start against Japan. The Liverpool striker is looking forward to adding to his goal tally.
"Tomorrow we are going to win," he said. "We know they are a strong side and the last time we faced them, they made us work hard, especially in the first half. But lots of players eat sushi in our team and we hope we will have them for dinner tomorrow!"