Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Van der Vaart Puts Trust in Robben to Prevent Spurs Euro Nightmare

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Van der Vaart Puts Trust in Robben to Prevent Spurs Euro Nightmare

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark van den Heuvel Dutch journalist based in Amsterdam

SOMETIMES, deep in the night, Arjen Robben wakes up with a jolt. Wide-eyed and with sweat dripping off his brow, Robben has just endured the Iker Casillas-nightmare again.

Two years ago, the former Chelsea winger was one-on-one with the Spain goalkeeper and with a golden chance to give Holland the lead in the World Cup Final.

Robben prodded the ball goalwards but to his dismay, Casillas, just managed to tip the ball inches wide.

Spain went on to triumph 1-0, leaving Robben haunted by the memory of his miss as the Dutch nation lamented their third defeat in the final.

However, if the Bayern Munich midfielder is in a similar situation on Saturday -- bearing down on Chelsea's goal with only Petr Cech to beat -- Rafael van der Vaart is sure his compatriot will not let him down.

But then the Tottenham midfielder is relying on his great friend to do him a huge favour by beating the Blues in the Champions League Final.

A victory for Chelsea at Bayern's Allianz Arena will see them qualify for Europe's elite club competition next season and relegate Spurs, who finished fourth in the Premier League, into the Europa League.

And having enjoyed a thrilling ride in the Champions League during his debut season at White Hart Lane, Van der Vaart is desperate to return.

"Only if Bayern win we will play in the Champions League," he said. "Our fate is in the hands of Arjen. And, as his friend and good colleague, I trust him completely."

Van der Vaart came on as an extratime substitute in the World Cup Final in Johannesburg and he will link up again with Robben this summer for Euro 2012.

For now, though, Robben's focus is on the clash with his former club and ending a rollercoaster season with Munich in the perfect fashion.

The 28-year-old has developed since leaving Chelsea five years ago, spending two seasons at Real Madrid before making a big impact in Germany. …

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