The coach of the Netherlands national men's team Bert Goedkoop has singled out this weekend's matches against Bulgaria in Week 4 of the World League starting on Friday night as crucial to his team's chances of making the World League Finals in Spain next month.
The Netherlands have only lost one match so far in the World League Intercontinental Rounds and sit on top of Pool C with seven points, one point ahead of Bulgaria and the Olympic and European Champions Serbia and Montenegro, who have a tricky away assignment against Cuba this weekend. But Goedkoop is not resting on any of the performances, which have been at home over the past two rounds, which include two wins over Cuba and a win and a loss to Serbia and Montenegro and is keen to confirm four more points with two wins this weekend against Bulgaria on Friday and Saturday night in Amsterdam.
"The matches against Bulgaria are the key matches for us to reach the Final Round of the World League like last year," Goedkoop said and added that they will be tough to beat judging on recent history. "Bulgaria beat us in the 2001 European Championship and played well in the World Championship last year, beating the number one team in the world Russia in the preliminary rounds."
Bulgaria are ranked 20th in the world but have proved to be stronger than that having knocked over Serbia and Montenegro in one of their two matches last weekend in Podgorica.