Spirits were high in the Latvia camp during their pre-match training session at Amsterdam Arena on Saturday evening, a mood bolstered by the return of key midfielder Aleksandrs Cauņa after missing almost a year with an injury.
"Sasha [Cauņa] is making excellent progress in training," said Latvia coach Marians Pahars. "However, he is still not ready to play 90 minutes. We will look and think how to get the maximum benefit from him."
Pahars already has his game plan. "We will play with eight defenders," joked the former Southampton FC striker. "I am not going to unlock our secrets. We know the Netherlands strengths very well, but we'll try to focus on our game.
"The Oranje also have some problems as we saw on the pitch against Mexico. However, they will play much more disciplined football against us and we have to be prepared for that."
Though Latvia do not play their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier against the Netherlands until Sunday, coach Marians Pahars has brought his squad to Amsterdam today to have a full training camp in the city and the Latvians, fourth in Group A on two points after three matches, have huge respect towards the Oranje.
"Robben, van Persie, Sneijder, many others – they are world-class players, at another level. But we cannot give up," said FK Ventspils defender Kaspars Dubra. "It is humans who play football not surnames. Yes, there is a significant gap in class but we have to take to the pitch and fight from the first minute until the last one."
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