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Van Basten just can't help believing

Published: Monday 15 October 2007, 20.44CET
Netherlands coach Marco van Basten may have just tasted his first qualifying defeat – and lost three players to suspension – but he is staying optimistic.
by Berend Scholten
 
Published: Monday 15 October 2007, 20.44CET

Van Basten just can't help believing

Netherlands coach Marco van Basten may have just tasted his first qualifying defeat – and lost three players to suspension – but he is staying optimistic.

There is a Dutch saying that goes "er is geen man overboord" – no man overboard. That is the feeling of Netherlands coach Marco van Basten after their first UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying defeat on Saturday.

Unbeaten run ends
The 1-0 loss in Romania left the Netherlands three points adrift of the Group G leaders and, more importantly, only two above third-placed Bulgaria with three games remaining. Van Basten had not tasted defeat in 20 previous qualifying matches since taking over after UEFA EURO 2004™. Yet despite the weekend reverse, and the fact Joris Mathijsen, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Giovanni van Bronckhorst will be suspended for Wednesday's increasingly vital visit of Slovenia to Eindhoven, the coach remains optimistic – especially with two banned players returning.

Duo return
"We now have to focus on the game against Slovenia," Van Basten said. "Although we will have three players suspended, on the other hand there is the return of Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie. We have to make sure that we take at least seven points from our final three matches. Then we will qualify."

 
Last updated: 16/10/07 9.45CET

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