Elia likely to start on bench again

JOHANNESBURG - Dutch winger Eljero Elia who lifted his side with a late cameo in their 2-0 opening World Cup win over Denmark looks likely to return to the bench for their next match after a broad hint by the coach on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old immediately harassed the Danish defence following his introduction midway through the second half on Monday and set up Dirk Kuyt's late second.

Coach Bert Van Marwijk said on Tuesday, however, that Elia's bright World Cup debut simply illustrated the attacking options which the Netherlands possess and hinted he would again be used as a backup on Saturday against Japan in Durban.

"For an opponent it is hard when you play for an hour against (Rafael) van de Vaart, who moves mainly to the centre of the pitch, and then you face Elia who takes you on again and again," he told reporters after Tuesday's training.

"But not only those two have different styles, also (Dirk) Kuyt and (Ibrahim) Afellay filled in their role on the right flank in their own way.

"Kuyt is like a second striker while Afellay also moves more to the centre approaching the ball," he added.

Netherlands' most dangerous winger, Arjen Robben, missed the match with a hamstring injury and again trained on his own on Tuesday.

The team disappointed generally after some bright pre-tournament performances but Van Marwijk said that had much to do with the thin air of a game at altitude in Johannesburg, the importance of the match and defence-minded opponents.

"Against a defensive opponent we needed to be careful and patient and we were," he said. "At the end the win was well deserved."

Netherlands complete their Group E games against Cameroon in Cape Town on June 24.

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