The Netherlands will take on Brazil in the quarter finals after Slovakia and Chile respectively were ousted from the World Cup Soccer tournament in South Africa.
In the first game of the day between the Netherlands and Slovakia, the Dutch showed again that they have grown-up by realizing that aesthetic and attacking football maybe pleasing to the eye but at the final whistle the only points that count are the goals scored. Slovakia became the 4th. victim of this new philosophy.
In soberness yet very effective strides Holland brought in the brilliance when needed and that was when the time was ripe to score. Arjan Robben, returning from an Hamstring injury 19 days ago in the start-up line, showed again his brilliance after 18 minutes. After controlling the game up until the moment Arjan Robben was send on his long way to the goal on the right hand side outwitting two defenders when he moved inside to the left and firing with a precise shot past Jan Muncha.
Arsenal ace Van Persie had the next chances as halftime approached. He surprised the Slovakia defence in the 41st minute but, after cutting in from the left, could only muster a soft ball at Muncha. With just seconds to go before half-time, he then raced in behind the back line but failed to control Mark van Bommel’s low cross blasting wide.
Robben was in the mood again when the second period got underway. After Van Persie dragged the Slovakia defense out of position, the ball landed at the foot of the former Chelsea man, who maneuvered himself inside the area only for his sizzling low shot to be tipped by Muncha’s fingertips. The goalkeeper was called into action again from the resulting corner, bravely blocking a Joris Mathijsen effort from close range.
In the 67th min. Slovakia suddenly shifted to a more attacking 4-4-2 system bearing some fruit in creating two good chances via Vittek and Stoch both excellently handled by Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
From here on the Dutch shifted into a higher gear in search of their second goal and with 6 min. to go Dirk Kuyt masterfully shielded the ball from keeper Jan Muncha after a quickly taken free kick outplaying the goalkeeper and his low cross was slotted home by Wesley Snijder.
Slovakia was awarded a penalty in the last min. in stoppage time but it was too late for the Slovaks to change their fortune. The Dutch now play the Brazilian “train” this coming Friday in Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Stadium.
Brazil – Chile
The second round sixteen game between Brazil and Chile saw a brave Chilean side taking on the Goliath of the South American continent. for a third time Chile was knocked out of the tournament by their neighbors through goals from Juan, Fabiano and Robinho.
Chile, started opportunistic against the Brazilians and while creating more ball possession the Brazilians when simply much more dangerous. Chile knew how to get the ball into the box but not into the goal and this was merciless penalized in the last ten minutes of the first half when Juan towered higher then everyone and nodded home past goalkeeper Bravo. Four minutes later the Brazilians had their second one while the Chileans where appealing for an offside, Fabiano accepted a splitting pass from Kaka, rounded Bravo and slotted home.
Chile created their only chance on target through a shot from Humberto Suazo barely bothering goal keeper Julio Cesar just before half time.
Returning on the pitch Chile tried to put even more pressure on the Brazilians but this compromised their back line opening up for counter attacks by Brazil that proved to be successful just before the hour mark. Ramires marched past two white shirts as if they didn’t exist and passed on to Robinho who curled the ball past Bravo’s hand to slot home their third goal.
Chile refused to give up and their approach towards the goal was slick but the closing was simply miserable. Chance after chance were fumbled or put wide, over or straight into the arms of Julio Cesar.
The score remained until the final whistle 3-0 setting up a second mouthwatering quarter final meeting between Brazil and the Netherlands. The two titans are to meet again. The Brazilians are on top of their game, as are the Dutch. The difference will be played out who has the best nerves as it will be a thriller for both sides.
tomorrow, June 29 the following last round 16 games are:
Paraguay – Japan at 10:00am EST
Japan and Paraguay are bidding both to write a bit of history tomorrow as neither side ever reached the quarter finals in a World Cup.
Spain and Portugal at 2:30pm EST
Two countries that share the Iberian Peninsula yet it is the first time that these rivals meet in a World Cup. Both sides must win since going home prematurely will be out of the question for both nations.