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Splits in camp thing of the past...

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has hailed the team spirit that has carried the Netherlands all the way to the World Cup 2010 final.

In previous tournaments, the Dutch have gained a reputation for imploding rather than coming together to lift silverware. In South Africa, the 27-year-old himself was involved in a touchline spat with head coach Bert van Marwijk about Wesley Sneijder but this was quickly downplayed.

Speaking to reporters after Tuesday's 3-1 semi-final victory against Uruguay, van Persie praised the collective spirit that has the Oranje poised for World Cup success.

"I was not here when people spoke about the former sides," Van Persie said.

"But I do know this team has an unbelievable spirit.

"If you put a camera inside our hotel you would see us playing table tennis or making jokes. Everybody is playing cards and talking to each other which is important in order to achieve things.

"When you have a group of players where half of the team is not talking to each other, when one man does not like another, or when someone is not happy when someone else scores, you are not going anywhere."

The current Dutch side have been criticised for a pragmatic approach that doesn't follow in the footsteps of the 'Total Football' played by the beaten finalists of 1974 and 1978. Van Persie praised the achievements of Johan Cruyff and his team-mates, but hoped his generation could go one better.

He said: "It is a bit difficult because you have to fight against the generation of 1974 and 1978.

"They were unbelievable. They are legends, [Johan] Cruyff, Johan Neeskens and so on.

"You grew up with their names in your face. When those people say anything in the press or on a TV programme everybody listens because of what they have achieved.

"But somehow, we have a chance to do it.

"If we win it for the first time it will be unbelievable because basically it means that we have done better than them."

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