KHARKIV (Reuters) - Netherlands must beat Portugal by two goals and hope old rivals Germany help them out with a victory over Denmark and that cold reality will be reflected in the Dutch tactics, coach Bert Van Marwijk said on Saturday.
Defeats by Denmark and Germany have left the Dutch without a point but still with a chance to reach the last eight.
“The biggest change for us is that it is about one game, it’s like a final - a one off-game and so we have to go for it,” Van Marwijk told reporters.
”We need Germany to win but we know from the start we have to win by two goals and I will keep that in mind.
“We have to go for it, that’s what the tactics are based on... the tactics will reflect that situation,” he added.
While the Netherlands coach is keeping his starting lineup to himself, the temptation will surely be to start with a formation similar to the one that finished against Germany.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was introduced at centre forward with Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben playing in the wide roles and midfielder Wesley Sneijder given a more advanced position.
Rafael van der Vaart is another option for the left flank while skipper and defensive midfielder Marc Van Bommel could be sacrificed.
Portugal have three points after beating Denmark 3-2 and a win would be enough for them, unless the Danes beat Germany by a one-goal margin and score more than two goals in the process.
A draw would also do the trick for Paulo Bento’s team if Denmark fail to beat Germany.
The tension is likely to be high and Van Marwijk is aware that his team need to avoid getting involved in any incidents given the history between the two teams.
The pair shared 16 yellow cards and four reds in their last competitive match - a 1-0 win for Portugal in a wild 2006 World Cup match.
“It’s going to be a frantic game and there were lots of yellow and red cards in the past. So we need lots of discipline for this game. I told the players that but they know that themselves,” said Van Marwijk.
While the manager insists he and his team will be focused purely on trying to do their part of the equation to qualify, as always in such cases news from Germany’s game in Lviv is bound to filter through to the Metalist stadium.
Van Bommel said any score updates would only spur on the players.
“It can stimulate and motivate you. It is not going to influence your game but if you are 1-0 up and hear what is happening in other game it does motivate you,” he said.
Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Ken Ferris