Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar is convinced the Dutch can mount a strong challenge at the FIFA World Cup™.

The 2010 runners-up face a tough challenge in Brazil having been paired with champions Spain, Chile and Australia in Group B. Louis van Gaal's men have also looked laboured in their three warm-up friendlies, the latest of which was a lacklustre 2-0 win over under-strength Wales in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Much relies on the vaunted attacking trio of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, with critics feeling the defence is the team's weak link.

But Vlaar said: "We know that. We work hard to get better as a team and we also know we have our best players up front. But if you look at all the games we played during qualification and friendlies we didn't concede many goals.

You have to believe otherwise you shouldn't go.

Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar

"So we have to give confidence to our forwards to accelerate and make a difference for us. You play every game to win. You have to be realistic but I really believe we can achieve something. I look forward to it and I cannot wait."

Van Gaal claimed earlier this week that there is an expectation on his side to at least reach the semi-finals. He suggested that might be unrealistic, but did add that his team are capable of winning the tournament if at their best.

Vlaar, 29, said: "You have to believe otherwise you shouldn't go."