Holland have marched in the World Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-1 win over Slovakia in Durban.
Round of 16
Holland: 2 (Arjen Robben 18’, Wesley Sneijder 84’) Slovakia: 1 (Robert Vittek (p) 90+4’)
Venue: Durban Stadium – Durban
Referee: Alberto Undiano (ESP)
Yellow cards: NED – Arjen Robben 31’, Martin Stekelenburg 90+3’
SVK – Juraj Kucka 40’, Kamil Kopunek 71’, Martin Skrtel 84’
Holland looked comfortable early but they needed an early goal to grab the ascendency and it came in the 18th minute when Arjen Robben ran onto a long ball from Wesley Sneijder who was deep in the Dutch defence before finding his way past two defenders and lashing home from outside the area for his first goal of the tournament.
Slovakia did not let the goal affect them too much and strived hard for a leveller by pushing forward and taking some risks as the game opened up somewhat but they couldn’t make the breakthrough and the first 45 minutes ended with just Robben’s goal on the scoreboard.
Slovakia keeper Jan Mucha kept his team in the match in the first five minutes after the break with two brilliant saves, the first from a Robben shot and the second a reflex reaction from a close range Joris Mathijsen strike.
In the 67th minute, Slovakia’s leading goalscorer Robert Vittek had the perfect chance to equalise when he found space at the top of the area and only had to beat Martin Stekelenburg in the Dutch goals but the stopper produced a stellar save to maintain his sides lead.
Holland managed to get a second goal in the 84th minute when Dirk Kuyt was played in from a quickly taken free-kick and evaded Mucha who had advanced in an attempt to thwart the foray but as he left his goal open, the Liverpool man teed up Wesley Sneijder who made no mistake.
Slovakia made some late changes so they could go out fighting and they were awarded a late consolation penalty which was converted by Robert Vittek with the last kick of the game as Holland clinched a spot in the quarter-finals with their eighth straight win.
Martin Stekelenburg (gk), Gregory van der Wiel, Johnny Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Mark van Bommel, Dirk Kuyt, Nigel de Jong, Robin van Persie (Huntelaar 80’), Wesley Sneijder (Afellay 90+1’), Arjen Robben (Elia 71’)
Subs – Eljero Elia (71’), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (80’), Ibrahim Afellay (90+1’)
Jan Mucha (gk), Peter Pekarik, Martin Skrtel, Radoslav Zabavnik (Jakubko 87’), Vladimir Weiss, Robert Vittek, Miroslav Stoch, Jan Durica, Marek Hamsik (Sapara 87’), Erik Jendrisek (Kopunek 71’), Juraj Kucka
Subs – Kamil Kopunek (71’), Marek Sapara (87’), Martin Jakubko (87’)