August 29, 2017 / 7:10 PM / 7 months ago

Robben tells Dutch to be believers

AMSTERDAM, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Netherlands captain Arjen Robben has urged his team mates not to underestimate their ability and believe in their potential to upset France on Thursday and get their World Cup hopes back on track.

Soccer Football - Chemnitzer FC v Bayern Munich - DFB Cup First Round - Chemnitz, Germany - August 12, 2017 Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben in action REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke DFB RULES PROHIBIT USE IN MMS SERVICES VIA HANDHELD DEVICES UNTIL TWO HOURS AFTER A MATCH AND ANY USAGE ON INTERNET OR ONLINE MEDIA SIMULATING VIDEO FOOTAGE DURING THE MATCH.

The Dutch sit third in the Group A standings, three points adrift of joint leaders France and Sweden and a second loss of the qualifying campaign to France could effectively end their hopes of a place at next year’s finals in Russia.

“Of course, France have, in terms of quality, a really good team, but I don’t want to talk about them. I think we must not think that we are not as good, we must be convinced of our own qualities and believe that we can beat them,” Robben told reporters on Tuesday.

“I’m always very positive. We can well say that it will be difficult because France have a better team, but if you think like that, then you might as well stay at home,” he added.

“We must go to Paris with conviction. It is a bit like the situation at the World Cup in 2014. If you believe in something and have the requisite ambition, you can go far.”

The unrated Dutch finished third in the last World Cup in Brazil after initially being heavily criticised for changing their tactical approach.

But they missed out on qualifying for the 2016 European Championship and have struggled in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Defeat in Sofia by Bulgaria in March cost Danny Blind his job as coach with Dick Advocaat returning in his place.

“I want to see conviction, not angst,” Robben said.

“And organisationally everything must click. If you don’t have as much individual quality as some of the top footballing countries, then you have to approach games cleverly.”

Reporting by Mark Gleeson,; Editing by Ed Osmond

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