• FT





  • FT






Durban Stadium, Durban, South Africa

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco | Attendance: 61692

* Local time based on your geographic location.


  • Arjen Robben 18'
  • Wesley Sneijder 84'

2 - 1



  • Robert Vittek 90' +4' PEN

Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia: Robben revival

Arjen Robben made an immediate impact on his first start for the Netherlands as he scored early on to sink Slovakia. Wesley Sneijder made the game safe in the final ten minutes as the Dutch progressed to the quarter-finals, before Robert Vittek netted a penalty with the last kick of the game.

• Bouwes: Big Two work to do

• Coach plays down RVP spat

• Blog: Slovakia so close

Netherlands have now won all four games at the World Cup and will meet the winner

of Brazil's clash with Chile on Friday in Port Elizabeth.

The game at the Moses Mabhida stadium offered two contrasting styles, with

the Oranje pursuing a patient passing game while Slovakia adopted a more direct

approach to try to utilise Vittek's pace.

Robben earned his first start at the World Cup after recovering from a calf

injury and he terrorised Slovakia's defence with pace and skill before being

replaced after the hour mark.

Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss made just one change to the side that knocked

Italy out of the tournament.

The Slovaks, looking to upset another World Cup heavyweight, started in

confident fashion and had the first chance after two minutes but Erik

Jendrisek's left-footed strike from 25 yards went over the bar.

Netehrlands struggled to break down Slovakia's defence and were limited to

long-range shooting. Sneijder tried his luck from distance and his effort went high and wide while shortly after, Dirk Kuyt fired just wide of the near post.

In the 10th minute, Sneijder should have done better after being set up inside

the area by Van Persie. However, the Inter Milan forward shot straight at Slovakia goalkeeper Jan Mucha.

It did not take long for Holland to go in front, though. A great long ball from

Sneijder found Robben and the Bayern Munich winger cut inside two defenders

before firing a left-footed strike into the net.

On the half-hour mark, Miroslav Stoch got the ball into the danger zone but

no-one was there to get on the end of his cross.

Van Marwijk's side were happy to sit on their lead with Slovakia unable to put a good move

together. Robin van Persie should have doubled Netherlands' lead before half-time but his

close-range shot from Mark van Bommel's cross went wide.

Slovakia showed more determination after the restart but it was the Oranje who

looked more deadly. Mucha was twice called into action to prevent them from extending their lead.

The Slovakia goalkeeper was forced to fully stretch to make a one-handed save

from Robben's shot and, seconds later, Mark van Bommel's close-range shot was

parried away by Mucha.

Stekelenburg made his first save of the afternoon in the 65th minute by palming

over Stoch's right-footed strike from the edge of the area. Slovakia should have equalised seconds later but Vittek's effort was parried away by Stekelenburg.

At the other end, Kuyt latched onto Sneijder's free-kick but his header went

over the bar. In the 73rd minute, Kuyt warmed the hands of Mucha with a stinging drive from 25 yards and Holland ended Slovakia's hopes in the 84th minute. Kuyt fed Sneijder and he struck the ball home from 15 yards.

With seconds remaining, Vittek coolly scored from the penalty spot to score his

fourth goal of the World Cup, but it was too little, too late.