Johannesburg: Former Dutch captain turned assistant coach Frank de Boer feels the present Netherlands team has the belief to lift the World Cup, something that was unseen in the past.
De Boer, who represented the Netherlands in the 1994 and the 1998 World Cups, said the past teams were content to make the semifinals and never focused on winning the title.
"There is a big difference between this team and those in the past. I have played in two World Cups and we never believed in ourselves. We never had the focus and were always happy to make the semifinals, because we were never the favourites," de Boer told IANS.
Former Dutch captain Frank de Boer feels the present Netherlands team has the belief to lift the World Cup.
He said in the 1998 World Cup in France, where they finished fourth, the Netherlands had one of the finest team in Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert, Phillip Cocu, Edwin van der Sar, his brother Ronald and himself, but they never believed in themselves.
"But this team is different, they have the confidence to win. If you believe in yourself, you can make the difference. Cocu (assistant coach), I and coach Bert van Marjwik have worked to make the guys believe that they can become the world champions," the former Barcelona defender said.
"Initially, many players didn't believe they can do it. But for the last two years, every single person in the team has worked hard to instill the belief in the players that they can beat any opposition in the world. It was a process that we started from day one and it is a compliment to everybody in the support staff that we are now in the final."
De Boer said it is this self-belief that made the difference when they defeated tournament favourites Brazil in the quarterfinal in Port Elizabeth.
"This team is very stable. Even if we don’t play our best, we win or we draw. We don’t lose the match. We have been unbeaten in 25 games. This self-belief made the difference when we defeated Brazil. We were a goal down and then came back strongly to finish off the match," he said.
De Boer said the team has some magical players who can turn tide in their favour.
"We have players like Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben who can do something out of nothing. This is the quality of the team. We have showed in this tournament that we can even win without giving our best. But we have to play better to be World Champions," he said.
Asked whether his successful stint with the national team will prompt him to look to coach a different club or a country, de Boer said: "Not yet. I have to be more experienced before I can even think about it. I have three beautiful daughters and a wife and I am settling down in Holland."