Van Marwijk faces striking dilemma

The visit of Northern Ireland gives Bert van Marwijk has one final chance to resolve the debate over who should start up front for Holland at Euro 2012.

Friendly: Germany vs Netherlands

Van Marwijk is currently wrestling with the kind of selection dilemma most managers crave ahead of a major tournament, with both Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar having the best seasons of their careers.

Van Marwijk prefers to set the team up with just one central striker, meaning one of his forwards looks likely to miss out.

Van Persie started in the centre-forward spot in the 2-0 win over Slovakia on Wednesday, meaning Huntelaar could get his chance against Northern Ireland.

"I do not know if I am the number one striker," Van Persie told OnsOranje ahead of the final warm-up match in Amsterdam.

"I really do not know. Nobody knows that yet. Van Marwijk will go for a striker who works well with the midfield, but that can also be Klaas.

"In recent years, he has developed very well, but I can develop too. There is always room for improvement."

Van Marwijk was positive about Joris Mathijsen's prospects of being fit for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

The defender suffered a hamstring injury in the recent friendly with Bulgaria but the signs are good for the Oranje's first group game against Denmark.

"He is making good progress. He trained a while today with the ball. I assume that he will be ready for Denmark," he said.

"I hope he is fit in time but he is at least making good progress."

While Van Marwijk is making his last-minute preparations for Euro 2012, one could be forgiven for seeing the match as a low-key end-of-season affair for the visitors.

With the likes of Aaron Hughes, Steven Davis, Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt, Chris Baird and Gareth McAuley all injured or otherwise unavailable, it will certainly not be Michael O'Neill's first-choice side that steps out at the Amsterdam ArenA.

But he is treating the fixture, just his second in charge of the national side, as vital preparation for the challenges ahead - primarily two tricky away trips in World Cup qualifying later this year.

"You have to approach it the same way as you would approach a qualification game," said O'Neill.

"You try and get home with some type of positive result and that's exactly how we'll approach this match.

"We've got to go to Russia in September and then Portugal in October and we'll approach those games in a very similar fashion to this one.

"The Dutch team are probably better than either of those sides but the experience of being out here - in such a magnificent arena to play in - will be invaluable when we go into those qualification games."



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