ONLY few countries can match the Netherlands for its football quality, but the nation of Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten is yet to taste World Cup success.
Runners-up twice in 1974 and 1978 and close to the final as well in 1998, expectations are huge around a team featuring the likes of Arsenal's Robin van Persie, Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben, Inter Milan's Wesley Snijder and Real Madrid playmaker Rafael van der Vaart.
“We have a mission. We want to become even better and will aim for the best possible result in South Africa,” said coach Bert van Marwijk.
The Dutch had a perfect qualifying campaign with eight wins in as many matches to prevail ahead of Norway and Scotland.
No one disputes the Dutch skill and class, but it has rarely come together when it mattered.
The last three friendlies against Australia, Italy and Paraguay all ended in 0-0 draws.
These games took place without several stars and Van Marwijk admitted that trouble could be looming when some big names are missing.
“We have the quality, but when the big names are out we do have difficulties. The Netherlands doesn't have the depth as the big football nations do,” he said.
However, optimism remains high overall, as he added: “The team is stable and doesn't give away a lot.”
A key to possible Dutch success in South Africa will also be harmony, as past big tournaments have been marred by in-house fighting and criticism from outside by the many football legends.
The star: Arjen Robben, 25, is the latest example of a classic Dutch winger. He has four domestic league titles with PSV Eindhoven (2003), Chelsea (2005, 2006) and Real Madrid (2008) before joining Bayern Munich in 2009. The speedy Robben can play on the left and the right wing, with the 2010 World Cup his fourth major event following Euro 2004, 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008. Robben has been prone to injuries throughout his career, however.