By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
A proud footballing nation, Holland's self-esteem took a blow two years ago when they failed to make it past the group stage of Euro 2012. However, the 2010 World Cup runners-up remain a force to be reckoned with, and Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul - who has been named in the Netherlands' provisional squad - is determined to help prove that this summer…
How much are you looking forward to the World Cup, and the possibility of being there as part of the Holland squad?
Massively. The World Cup is the highest stage you can be at.
I went to the last European Championships (in 2012) but this would be another level again. Just thinking about potentially being in the (final) squad is exciting.
You didn't manage to get any game time in Euro 2012, but was being involved in a major tournament still good experience for you?
Absolutely, especially for someone like me who hadn't played a lot of international football at the time.
The Euros are a huge tournament which everyone watches, and as a young boy I always wanted to be part of an end-of-season competition.
I achieved an ambition in making it to the Euros and would now like to do the same with the World Cup. To make the squad and then get some minutes in Brazil would be unbelievable.
Do you fancy your chances of making the final cut?
It's difficult to say and I don't want to tempt fate, obviously.
I've played a lot of games for Newcastle this season and haven't had the sort of injury problems that I had last year, so that has been a positive, but you just never know.
There a lot of good goalkeepers in Holland going for those three places and it seems like everything is still open.
You've got the likes of Michel Vorm, Jeroen Zoet, Maarten Stekelenburg - who hasn't played too much recently - and Jasper Cillessen, who is a champion in Holland.
There's a few there and a lot of competition but I would like to think my performances for Newcastle will be good enough to push me into the squad.
Holland reached the World Cup final in 2010 but then went out at the group stage of Euro 2012. Is it important that you bounce back and prove yourselves as a real force again?
Everyone was so disappointed by what happened at the Euros and it is up to us to show that we can match up against any of the best teams in the football world.
You can do it in friendlies or qualification matches, but there is no better stage to make an impact than the World Cup, and that is what we will be trying to do this summer.
What are the expectation levels like back at home ahead of the tournament?
Holland always expects. That is just how the country is when it comes to football and rightly so.
We have a very difficult group with Spain, Chile and Australia, but in my mind we should definitely go through.
You have to be positive and have the right mentality going into the tournament. Don't get me wrong, it is going to be hard, especially being in South America with the climate like it is, but we are all looking forward to it and cannot wait to get going.
It doesn't get much tougher than your opening Group B fixture against the reigning World and European champions, Spain…
Yes, Spain are a great side but why not test yourself against the best from the very first game?
They won't fancy facing us either because we have a top squad, so as long as we are really fit and ready to go, I think we have a great chance against them.
What are your first memories of the World Cup?
The semi-final of the 1998 World Cup, when Holland lost on penalties to Brazil.
We had a great tournament and were so unlucky but there was no shame in losing to a Brazil side with the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos in it.
That is when I really started realising how good football was and what a massive tournament the World Cup is. It was something special.
Did you study the different goalkeepers in every match to try and pick up tips for your own game?
I was ten-years-old and had just started playing in goal back then so yeah, I was really keen to see what they did and learn from them.
Edwin van der Sar was the one for me and always has been. I have spoken so many times about how he was my hero, my inspiration, and a lot of it came from that tournament.
He'd had a fantastic season at Ajax and took that form into the World Cup. He really was one of the best there's ever been.
Were there any other keepers who caught your eye, apart from van der Sar?
Iker Casillas, of Spain, is a legend of his own.
He is great at club level for Real Madrid but every World Cup seems to bring out the best in him. He made some vital saves against Holland in the 2010 World Cup final. He is just a fantastic goalkeeper and right up there.
To think I could be facing him in the first match this summer is a strange one and would be a great moment for me.
He seems to be their main man at the moment and deserves to have one final tournament.
And finally, what does it mean to you when you pull on the national shirt?
Every single time I see that shirt it gives me a special feeling inside.
That is why I started playing football as a kid - to represent my country. To hear the national anthem is an incredible moment.
I made my international debut out in Brazil (in June 2011) and that was fantastic. I would love to be going there again this summer and will do everything I can to make it happen.
This article was first produced for Newcastle United's official matchday programme against Cardiff City on Saturday, 3rd May. To purchase a copy of the World Cup special publication, click here.