EVDS wants Cup

Monday 28 January 2002

From Leo Spall at the Standard

Fulham goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is hoping for an extended run in the FA Cup to help make up for his World Cup disappointment.

The Dutch international had expected to be preparing by now for this summer's finals in Japan and South Korea. But Holland failed to qualify and van der Sar is relying on the FA Cup to provide some consolation.

Steed Malbranque and Steve Marlet scored the goals in Fulham's 2-0 fourth-round win at York on Saturday and van der Sar, who made some crucial saves, is already looking forward to facing Walsall at the Bescot Stadium next month for a place in the quarter-finals.

He said: "I usually have games with the national team throughout the season but we didn't qualify for the World Cup this time and the FA Cup is a nice replacement for those games. It is the sort of thing that makes it good to be a footballer.

"A lot of big teams have already gone out - Manchester United, Leeds, Aston Villa, Liverpool - so it is very open and maybe there is a chance for a smaller club.

"I think we have a decent team and I want to win the Cup. I think having to face a smaller team probably gives us a better chance of going through but it does not really matter whether we have to against teams from the Premiership or the divisions below it.

"The English guys tell you how physical it can be and you have to prepare yourself for it.

"In the Premiership you play on good pitches and you can play the ball and show your abilities but against lower division teams something else is needed and I think we have shown against Wycombe and York that we can respond to that.

"The FA Cup is something special, with different stadiums in different divisions and teams that fight until they cannot go any more.

"It is not always good football but there is always good spirit. I think that is the charm of the competition."