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10:00 AM ET, July 2, 2010
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Last 5 Matches
The Netherlands is one of the best soccer nations never to win a World Cup, but if the Dutch are going to change that in South Africa, they must defeat a team that has already hoisted the trophy a record five times.The Oranje will be trying to overcome some internal turmoil as well as top-ranked Brazil in Friday's quarterfinal in Port Elizabeth, a match Brazilian star Robinho proclaimed worthy of a World Cup final."It's a world football classic," Robinho said, and the Selecao hope it follows a familiar pattern as they chase their 11th semifinal appearance and sixth title.Brazil beat the Netherlands 3-2 in the 1994 quarterfinals en route to the title, then eliminated the Dutch in penalties in the 1998 semis before losing to host France in the final.That doesn't mean the Brazilians are taking those results for granted, especially with the Oranje unbeaten in their last 23 matches."We know the Netherlands are a very difficult team to play against," coach Dunga said. "Their football is actually very similar to South American football. They don't try to stay defending and rely on long balls. They have technical quality and we will need to be ready for that."The Dutch won Group E with the maximum nine points and beat Slovakia 2-1 in the round of 16 on Monday. Star winger Arjen Robben scored the opening goal after shaking off a hamstring injury to make his first World Cup start.The Netherlands, though, isn't without issues after Dutch legend Johan Cruyff criticized the team's lack of style. Cruyff helped the nation to its first of two consecutive finals in 1974 -- beating Brazil 2-0 in the second round -- but the current squad is more concerned with making it one step further."We want to play beautifully, but it doesn't always work," midfielder Mark van Bommel said. "The bottom line is we qualified for the quarterfinals. We know what we're doing."Coach Bert van Marwijk has also been forced to confront Dutch media reports that quoted angry striker Robin van Persie as saying that teammate Wesley Sneijder should have been subbed out instead of him against the Slovaks.The coach called a team meeting and insists all is well."I don't like to leave problems dangling," Van Marwijk said. "It's over. For everybody."The Oranje certainly need a united approach against Brazil, and they'll hope to eliminate the defensive breakdowns that marred their match against Slovakia, forcing Maarten Stekelenburg to make some key saves.Even a mistake-free match may not be enough to beat the Selecao, who cruised past Chile 3-0 on Monday behind goals from Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho."It was a very good performance for Brazil," Kaka said. "It shows that we are improving after each match, just as planned."Brazil, however, likely must play without three midfielders Friday, with Ramires suspended and Felipe Melo doubtful with an ankle injury. Elano, also with an ankle injury, is out.