Football

RVP: Brazil or not, we want top spot

GROUP B

HOLLAND V CHILE

(Tonight, 11.59pm, SingTel mio TV Ch 141 & StarHub TV Ch 223)

Holland and Chile will fight it out for top spot in Group B tonight (Singapore time) and hope they can avoid a fearsome last-16 assignment against five-time World Cup winners Brazil.

Both teams have won their opening two games, putting them into the knockout stages and, in the process, sending reigning champions Spain and Australia crashing out.

Only goal difference separates the two, with Holland narrowly on top following their 5-1 win over Spain and 3-2 scrap against Australia.

Brazil are favoured to qualify top in Group A, meaning they will face whoever finishes second in Group B - a match-up neither Holland nor Chile will relish.

But with the outcome of Group A, where Brazil, Mexico and Croatia are separated by just one point, far from clear, Group B's winners could still end up facing the hosts.

It is a complicating factor that neither the Group A team will want to dwell on before the game at Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo.

However, Holland captain Robin van Persie said they will aim to beat Chile, despite knowing a draw will see them top their group.

The suspended van Persie said the Dutch would not flirt with their attacking form, which has seen them produce eight goals in two games.

"We believe in one another and we will go for it, we will go for it against any team," the Manchester United man said.

"It doesn't matter against who we play. (The) next one is Chile and we will go for it. Although we know that we can draw the game, we want to win."

While van Persie said he is eyeing top spot in the group, he also conceded he thinks there is not much difference between potential knockout-stage opponents Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.

"I think it's better for us to come first in the group," said van Persie, who has scored three goals in two games.

"That's the right answer because I've watched a couple of games where Croatia and Mexico played against Brazil and they are very similar to me.

"So I don't really have one favourite.

"From our point of view, we just have to come first and then see what happens because Brazil play after our game which is interesting.

"We have qualified, but we have to qualify first and then we will see what comes in our path and we just take it from there."

But topping the group will not be easy as the Dutch captain acknowledged that Chile are formidable opponents and he was impressed with what he saw of them.

"They looked very good. They looked fit, they look strong, they play together," he said.

"I think that four or five players made Spain's life very hard. So we've got a big task. It will be very hard to at least draw against them," added the forward, who will miss the clash after picking up two yellow cards in the first two matches.

WRONG CALL

After reviewing the incident that caused the referee to issue van Persie a yellow card, the Oranje captain maintained that the card was unjustified.

"I did not intend to hit him", insisting that both players were pushing and pulling each other as they were jockeying for position.

"I was looking at the ball, so I think that the decision to show the yellow card was an exaggerated one."

- Wire Services.

World Cup