Van Persie And Sneijder In Feud

The Netherlands are as renowned for their feuding as they are for their Total Football, and it seems that Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder are about to add to that ignominious legacy...
The Dutch pair have embarked on a war of words, stemming from a dispute over a free-kick that came in the Euro 2008 quarter-final against Russia.

Sneijder was the team's allocated dead-ball taker, only for Van Persie to attempt to wrest the ball from his grasp.

The Real Madrid midfielder, recovering from an injury sustained against Van Persie's Arsenal, told the Dutch newspaper Het Parool that Van Persie has 'broken agreements', and that he wanted a showdown.

Late in the last-eight tie against Russia, the Netherlands were awarded a free-kick, which Van Persie duly took. He missed, but Ruud Van Nistelrooy subsequently scored to take the game to extra time. However, Sneijder has revealed that the Arsenal striker broke team protocol.

Sneijder is quoted thus: "From the first practice game, I've been designated as the man who takes free kicks and no one else is supposed to touch the ball.

The ex-Feyenoord man Van Persie aimed low in his reply: "I expected more class from Wesley,'' he told Algemeen Dagblad.

"Besides, it's absolute nonsense that he's the only one who can take free kicks. You can ask the coach.''

Ex-Netherlands coach Marco Van Basten, in charge at the time of the 3-1 defeat, refused to comment while his replacement Bert Van Marwijk will not speak about the incident until he summons the squad togethet next week for the World Cup qualifying fixtures.

Van Persie was willing to clear the air with his international colleague, but has since revoked the offer due to the public nature of Sneijder's remarks.

He continued: "I'm flabbergasted by the way Wesley has acted. Must the whole country take part in a 'meeting' between Sneijder and Van Persie?''