It is a beautiful sunny day in Durban. At 4pm, this afternoon Netherlands will take on Slovakia for a place in the quarterfinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Holland’s best performance in the World Cup have been two trips to the final in 1974 and 1978, led by the Dutch legend Johan Cryuff. They have always been perpetual favourites due to the exciting brand of total football that is the hallmark of Team Orange.
Netherlands – Plenty of Quality Players
After winning all of their matches in Group E, the Netherlands aim to stay on the winning track against Slovakia in the round of sixteen. Bert van Marwijk’s 2010 World Cup side boasts plenty of quality and match winners with Champions League winning playmaker Wesley Sneijder, Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben, Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart. It is time for Hop Hop Holland to put foot to the metal and shift into top gear.
The Dutch have typically been known as underachievers at the World Cup and cannot afford any mistakes now. If they can play to their potential, Slovakia will fall by the wayside and the Oranje camp will be in excellent shape ahead of a potential quarterfinal clash with Brazil or Chile.
If they do not, the Slovakians, will exploit their weaknesses and run right through them like they did with Italy.
These teams have never met at the World Cup, but the Dutch did lose 3-0 to Czechoslovakia in the first round of the 1938 World Cup in France. This might not be very relevant to today’s Slovakia vs Netherlands match.
Van Persie Believes Holland will Win the Title
According to breakingfootballnews Robin Van Persie Believes Holland Will Win Title.
Netherlands can beat Slovakia and go all the way to the final of the 2010 World Cup and even lift the trophy, claims Robin Van Persie. The Holland striker believes that the Dutch have the perfect balanced squad of anytime in Dutch football’s recent memory, and should take advantage of their strengths to become champions of the world for the first time.
Arjen Robben – Will he Start?
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk will surely again plan to play it safe with regards the fitness of star man Arjen Robben, despite the Bayern Munich ace making his first appearance of the World Cup last Thursday evening
The Dutch winger made a successful comeback from a hamstring injury the last time out, playing 20 effective minutes as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 win over Cameroon. It will be interesting to see what kind of influence he can exert as a starter, provided he gets the nod from Coach Bert van Marwijk, who is keeping an eye on his star.
Rafael van der Vaart appears to have pulled a muscle in training on Sunday and is unlikely to feature against Slovakia, according to the team’s medical staff.
Netherlands On Yellow Cards
Nigel de Jong, Robin van Persie, Gregory van der Wiel, Giovanni van Brockhorst, Van der Vaart and Dirk Kuyt were all booked in the group phase and are on yellow cards. They would miss a potential quarterfinal if they concede another card in the round of sixteen.
Slovakia at 2010 World Cup
Slovakia have has an almost Jekyll and Hyde campaign at the 2010 World Cup. After their opening two matches, in which they were extremely disappointing against New Zealand and Paraguay in Group F, no one gave Slovakia a chance against the world champions, even if Italy had not been up to scratch themselves. Nonetheless, the players finally clicked in unison and engineered one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history as they advanced to the second round and eliminated the 2006 winners in the process.
Robert Vittek had a breakout game against Italy, scoring two goals to send the Azzurri crashing out of the tournament in the first round. He has stepped up in a big way for his country, while headline midfielder Marek Hamsik has toiled in virtual anonymity.
If coach Vladimir Weiss and his team can repeat the intensity and focus of the team that took down the Azzurris, Slovakia may pull off a win over the Netherlands, but it does not really seem that likely.
Slovakia – on Yellow Cards
Jan Durica, Vladimir Weiss, Stanislav Sestak, Jan Mucha, Peter Pekarik and Robert Vittek are all at risk of missing the quarterfinals and will need to avoid cards in this game. Zdeno Strba was already booked twice which means he is suspended for the match against the Netherlands.
Both sides have scored four goals at this tournament, and both left three of them for the second half of their games. As such, it may be expected that most of the goal action in this match is to take place in the second half as well.
Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban
Netherlands vs Slovakia will take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, which is to see its sixth match at this World Cup. The game is scheduled to start at 16:00 (4pm) local time and the referee appointed is Spaniard Alberto Undiano.
Image: Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie of Netherlands by
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