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Dream World Cup swansong for Dutch captain Van Bronckhorst

Giovanni van Bronckhorst celebrates after scoring a super long-range strike in the semifinal win against Uruguay.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst celebrates after scoring a super long-range strike in the semifinal win against Uruguay.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World Cup final is final match of career for Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst
  • The 35-year-old announced before tournament that it would be his swansong
  • He hopes to lead the Dutch to their first World Cup title in Johannesburg on Sunday
  • Three former Barcelona teammates will oppose him in the Spanish line-up

(CNN) -- Giovanni van Bronckhorst hopes that his dream will come true when he leads the Netherlands out against Spain in Sunday's World Cup final -- the last match of his distinguished career.

The 35-year-old announced before the South African tournament that it would be his swansong, and earned his 100th international cap in the opening Group E victory against Denmark last month.

On Tuesday, his spectacular long-range strike helped his team reach the final for the third occasion with a 3-2 victory against Uruguay on Tuesday.

The defender now has the chance to help the Dutch lift the trophy for the first time, something that the star-studded team of the 1970s failed to do after losing in finals in Germany and Argentina.

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"My last match turns out to be the match that I dreamed of," he told reporters, as quoted by the UK Press Association.

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"It is wonderful that I have the opportunity to win the World Cup as my final stop, far better than dying in the group stage.

"Everything has converged at just the right moment. It is fabulous that this World Cup will be the pinnacle of my work."

Van Bronckhorst, who began his career as a midfielder, made his name with Feyenoord before leaving his native country for spells with British clubs Glasgow Rangers and Arsenal -- the latter of which was blighted by injuries.

He moved to Spain in 2003 as Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard took him to Barcelona first on loan and then in a permanent deal, transforming him into a left-back.

Everything has converged at just the right moment. It is fabulous that this World Cup will be the pinnacle of my work
--Giovanni van Bronckhorst
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Van Bronckhorst won the Champions League in 2006 before returning to Feyenoord a year later, when current Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk made him captain of his boyhood club.

Van Marwijk has kept faith with the player since taking over from Marco van Basten as national coach following Euro 2008, which was won by Sunday's opponents Spain.

Van Bronckhorst will come up against several of his former Barcelona colleagues in the Johannesburg title decider, including midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta plus inspirational defender Carles Puyol.

"I still have contact with them. I used to share a room with Carles before Barcelona games and we saw a lot of each other away from the football club," he said.

"We have actually already been on the phone offering each other best wishes, and it will be nice to say goodbye on Sunday face-to-face.

"But my boyhood dream is something more important, so they will have to make do with a silver medal this time."

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