Enforcer van Bommel defended by his coach

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk has leapt to the defence of midfield enforcer Mark van Bommel.

After falling out with former coach Marco van Basten, van Bommel was ignored for two years before accepting the request of his father-in-law to come back into that Dutch fold.

As Holland try to find a way of stopping Spain from dominating possession in tomorrow's final, many see van Bommel as the ideal weapon. Yet the 33-year-old has also developed an unwanted reputation.

A number of dubious challenges may have gone un-noticed by the referees, but not fans, angered by his cynical approach.

His challenge on Walter Gargano immediately before Giovanni van Bronckhorst brilliantly put Holland ahead

in their semi-final against Uruguay on Tuesday was particularly ugly.

Again, van Bommel got away with that one, and while he did finally collect his first booking of the tournament later in the game, it was for the relatively minor offence of kicking the ball away when he thought the game had been won.

With Xavi and Andres Iniesta threatening to dictate the final, van Bommel is going to be needed and van Marwijk insists his reputation is unjust.

"I don't agree with what people are saying," said the Dutch coach. "The yellow card on Tuesday was his first in the entire competition. He has shown a lot of discipline in his play."

Van Bommel will continue making his contribution in his own unique style, with the aim of allowing far more attack-minded team-mates to strut their stuff further up the field."