There will not be a Dutchman on the pitch more determined to beat Spain on Friday than Bayern Munich forward Arjen Robben, who will look to banish the memory of his miss that could have won Netherlands the World Cup in 2010.

  • By Michael Bell
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robben 2010On 61 minutes,with the World Cup final locked at 0-0, Robben latched onto a perfect through ball from Wesley Sneijder, but with only Iker Casillas to beat, the winger could not lift the ball over the Spanish goalkeeper, who diverted the ball wide with an outstretched leg.

Robben knew that was the moment to win the World Cup gone, as he sat on his knee’s with his mouth wide open, and head in his hands. Netherlands were by far 2nd best throughout the game, and didn’t deserve to win with their brutish tactics, but if that chance had gone in then it would more than likely have been Giovanni van Bronckhorst lifting the World Cup, and not Casillas.

It was not to be, with Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta showing Robben how its done by calmly firing the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg in injury time to seal Spain the trophy, and condemn Netherlands to a third final defeat.

Robben joined fellow wingers Johnny Rep, and Rob Rensenbrink in the history books of Dutch football as wingers who would miss glorious chances in a World Cup final. Rep smashed the ball straight at West Germany’s keeper when one on one in 1974, while Rensenbrink hit the post in injury time in 78 as the Dutch went down to Argentina.

Speaking after the tournament it was clear Robben was haunted by the miss, stating “It hurts to miss such a chance.” and “I think about it a lot.”

Robben partly settled the ghost’s when he netted the winner in the Champions League final against Dortmund in 2013.

However on Friday when Netherlands line up against Spain at the World Cup, there is no doubt the memories will be coming back for Robben, and he will be determined to rewrite the history books.

The 30-year-old has grown as a player in the four years since the World Cup final, and is now seen less as the greedy winger who cuts inside and shoots, but as one of the most direct, and clinical wingers in Europe.

If Wesley Sneijder once again puts Robben through one on one with Casillas on Friday, expect the winger to finally put those haunting memories to bed.

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