Huntelaar: I can play alongside Van Persie

The prolific striker is hopeful of making Netherlands' starting XI in Brazil this summer and believes that the hosts and Argentina are the favourites to win the World Cup
Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is eager to partner Robin van Persie up front for Netherlands at the World Cup.

The Manchester United man has been national coach Louis van Gaal's first choice for the No.9 position ever since he took charge of the World Cup 2010 runners-up in 2012.

However, the recent change from a 4-3-3 formation to a 5-3-2 opens the door for a second forward and Huntelaar is confident that he is compatible with the Manchester United striker.

"I just hope that I can play as much as possible. Van Persie obviously operates as a forward too but I don't think it necessarily has to be a direct duel between the two of us," Huntelaar told Fifa's official website.

"It's equally feasible for our team to line up in a formation that accommodates two forwards, for example."

Netherlands will meet Spain, Chile and Australia in Group B but Huntelaar is confident that the Dutch will make it to the knockout stages, although he stresses that they should not look too far ahead.

"Of course, I believe in my team and I'm convinced that we can make it to the latter stages in Brazil," the forward declared. "Having said that, we've got some very strong opponents in our group and so we need to give 100 per cent in each game.

"Of course, the ideal scenario would be to return home as winners but it's important we don't look too far ahead. We need to just focus our attention on the group stages and take things one step at a time."

The Schalke hitman then went on to remark that he sees Brazil and Argentina as the favourites to win this summer's tournament.

Huntelaar said: "Brazil and Argentina [are my favourites]. Both countries have strong teams full of outstanding players.

"They won't need to adapt to the South American climate either. Other teams, such as those from Europe for example, will first have to get used to the conditions and this could have a slight impact on their performances."