Van Bronckhorst hoping for ‘Juventus scenario’ at De Kuip

Feyenoord are looking to bring this season’s Champions League adventure to a winning end on Wednesday when Napoli roll into town. Head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst is hoping that his side can emulate the team he himself played in back on 26 November 1997, when Feyenoord beat Italian giants Juventus 2-0 in the same competition, despite having already been eliminated.

One of Van Bronckhorst’s teammates that night, Julio Ricardo Cruz, turned himself into a Feyenoord hero by netting both goals. ‘It was one of those matches you don’t forget quickly,’ said the head coach on Tuesday afternoon when asked about the encounter. ‘It was one of those magical nights at De Kuip. It’s what you want to see more of and I think it can happen again tomorrow.’

Feyenoord have already been eliminated, but Van Bronckhorst feels that does nothing to blunt the intentions his side will have when they kick off at 20:45 CET on Wednesday. ‘The match against Napoli is the last chance to achieve a good result in Europe. We are playing against very good opponents, but we will go for the win. I don’t need to motivate my players for that.’

The head coach looked back on the whole Champions League adventure, which has not gone as Feyenoord had hoped. ‘We won the title and that’s how we qualified,’ said Van Bronckhorst to the audience of Dutch and Italian journalists. ‘We earned the right to play here. It’s obviously been tough, and we had hoped it would go differently. But it is an instructive experience for my boys.’

Defender Sven van Beek, who joined Van Bronckhorst in the De Kuip press room, says that Feyenoord are exiting the highest football stage in Europe with their heads held high. ‘We have to fight for our honour and give the full hundred percent. We will do everything to get our first points in the Champions League. We have made progress at this level, hopefully we can show that again tomorrow. I think that we definitely have a chance, although Napoli are a very good team.’

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