Slovakia handed The Netherlands a game in a silver platter. With a little apology to my wife, I called Arjen Robin my man in my earlier post Slovaks To Make The Dutch Sweat. She can now understand why. He struck within the first 16 minutes of his first start of the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The Netherlands started with a disciplined set of defenders and a very mobile midfield. Kuyt, Robin and van Persie were always going to be tough customers, and Liverpool’s Skrtel knew it. They were well supported by the industrious van Brommel and Snjieder.
An exceptional goalkeeping touches denied Robin and crew early in the second half. van Persie was also close with a free-kick from an acute angle on the 60th minute. The Slovaks were concerned with the Dutch attacking power that they forgot to go forward. They had not made a valid attempt at goal at this stage of the match.
The Slovaks, who seemed to have heavy legs, came in with a shout creating two successive chances that the goalkeeper did well to parry away in the 66th minute. They started to see themselves in it and pushed the Dutch into a defensive mode.
With the quarter-final berth in the bag, Robin was later replaced Eliah 20 minutes before the end of the 90. As Slovakia gave minimum resistance, it turned out to be an easier win for the Dutch than I thought as Snjieder tapped in a Kuyt cross after a hastly taken free-kick in the 84th minute.
A penalty converted by Vittek was the last kick of the game.