Van Persie aiming to emulate Maradona

  • Soccernet staff
  • July 7, 2010
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie is hoping to emulate boyhood hero Diego Maradona by lifting the World Cup on Sunday. • Dutch seeking Germany final
• Captain revels in career finale
• Sore jaw puts De Zeeuw in final doubt Van Persie revealed that he has a giant picture of the former Argentina striker holding the trophy after the South Americans' 1986 triumph at his home, and is aiming to replace it with a self portrait. "I have a really big picture of Maradona on the wall at home in my games room,'' Van Persie said. "It is an unbelievable picture of him holding the World Cup. "He is on his team-mates' shoulders and he is holding that trophy with passion. If we win I want that picture with me holding the World Cup, having hopefully scored in the final.'' Van Persie has struggled to make an impact playing as a lone striker in South Africa, but his team-mates - notably Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben - have flourished on Netherlands' journey to a first World Cup final in 32 years. And Van Persie admits he has been in regular contact with friends at home, who have informed him about the Dutch public's delight at the Oranje's progress. "I spoke to two friends of mine in Rotterdam and they were trying to explain what it is like,'' Van Persie said. "Holland is just upside down. It is unbelievable. Everybody is drinking, having fun, swimming in the canals. It is crazy. "Everyone is so happy. That is what is really nice. With the game we all love we can make people so happy. We just need to push on one more time. Then I don't know what will happen.'' It will be Netherlands' first final appearance since defeat against Argentina in 1978, and Van Persie explained that the Dutch have been battling against the memory of the 'Total Football' generation ever since. "It is a bit difficult because you have to fight against the generation of 1974 and 1978,'' he said. "They were unbelievable. They are legends, Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and so on. "You grew up with their names in your face. When those people say anything in the press or on a TV programme everybody listens because of what they have achieved. "But somehow, we have a chance to do it. If we win it for the first time it will be unbelievable because basically it means that we have done better than them. I was not here when people spoke about the former sides. But I know do know this team has an unbelievable spirit. "If you put a camera inside our hotel you would see us playing table tennis or making jokes. Everybody is playing cards and talking to each other which is important in order to achieve things. "When you have a group of players where half of the team is not talking to each other, when one man does not like another, or when someone is not happy when someone else scores, you are not going anywhere.''

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