Holland's Arjen Robben will play through the pain in the final against Spain, after revealing that the hamstring injury he sustained prior to the World Cup is still troubling him.
Pain barrier: Arjen Robben has been troubled by his hamstring injury throughout the tournament
Robben missed Holland’s first two group games but was rushed back into the team after treatment.
“I am not yet at my very best, but that is because I’m still getting pain from the injury,” said Robben, who sat out part of Friday’s training session.
“I can still play; but it is not like I can play a pain-free game. You have to be fit to be at your very best, but I will try to do as much as possible.” Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk conceded they had “taken a risk” with Robben’s fitness.
There had also been in concern in the Dutch camp about the fitness of Wesley Sneijder. The Inter Milan midfielder has been Holland’s most influential player, scoring five goals from midfield, so Van Marwijk was understandably cautious in curtailing Sneijder’s training on Friday morning so he could receive treatment on a thigh injury.
Sneijder was able to take part in training at Soccer City yesterday, however, and Van Marwijk insisted all his players were “top fit”.
While the Dutch were giving the impression of being laid-back yesterday — they spent the morning at Johannesburg zoo — they have been patching up a series of minor injuries.
Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart have knocks while Maarten Stekelenburg, the goalkeeper, has been having treatment for a problem on his hip. Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel are back after suspension.
In the Spanish camp, David Villa has been struggling with a dead leg but coach Vicente del Bosque was expected to name an unchanged starting XI which would mean disappointment for both Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas.
The Spain coach said he had not taken the decision to play Pedro at the expense of Torres in semi-final lightly and doubted that he would make any changes.
The Dutch, meanwhile, had already begun preparations for victory. On their return home, the Dutch plane would be greeted by F16 fighters from the Dutch Air Force to escort them in.