Monday, June 28, 2010

Netherlands deal with Slovakia 2-1

The Netherlands are a great side, while they've never won a World Cup,  they've certainly made their mark on the tournament in the past. Introducing the calm and patient style of play, "total football", which relies on keeping the ball away from the opponent with fluid and intelligent movement, they really made history. Now, they've probably got one of the greatest attacking teams in their history, and while they have often had factions in the team, if they can all get along in South Africa, they're gonna be a team to watch.

June 28, 2010 - Durban, South Africa - epa02227925 Dutch Arjen Robben (R) scores the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2010 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Slovakia at the Durban stadium in Durban, South Africa, 28 June 2010.
Robben scoring the first goal for the Netherlands
Netherlands - Slovakia 

Robben marked his return against Slovakia, his pace and positional sense provides width and another dimension of play for the team, and just 18 minutes in, he put his name on the score-sheet. A quick counter-attack all starting from Sneijder's brilliant ball for Robben to chase allowed the Bayern Munich player to cut in and finish across into the bottom corner. After this, chances were sparse and the Netherlands went into halftime with the lead thanks to Robben.

But the beginning of the second half had a flurry of chances which were all parried by the two keepers. In the 50th Robben was looking for his second with a low shot, but Mucha managed to get his fingers to tip it around the post. Then just seconds later the Dutch square the ball to Van Persie who is wide open in front of goal, but his shot is saved by Mucha's face. Then in the 67th minute Slovakia push forward and Stoch has his shot from just inside the box tipped just over the bar from Stekelenburg. A minute later Slovakia get an even better chance, Vittek beats the offside trap only to shoot a central (but powerful) shot which Stekelenburg does well to save.

DURBAN, June 29, 2010 Martin Jakubko (top L) of Slovakia is fouled by the Netherlands' goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg (bottom R) during the 2010 World Cup round of 16 soccer match at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, South Africa, on June 28, 2010. Netherlands won 2-1 and is qualified for the quarterfinals.
Vittek earning Slovakia their penalty with a touch of acting
The second goal came in the 84th, the Netherlands catch Slovakia sleeping with a quick free kick, Kuyt rounds the keeper and squares the ball to Sneijder for the Inter Milan player to slot home. Slovakia pull one back in the fourth minute of extra time, Vittek was brought down by Stekelenburg and the referee gives the Dutch keeper a yellow and awards a penalty. Vittek steps up to take it and slots it home, while the Slovakian players rush to grab the ball hoping to get an equalizer, the referee blows for the end of the game.

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