Monday, 28 June 2010

Holland 2 Slovakia 1... who will pick the Oranges now they're through to the last eight?

AH the Dutch. So clinical, so perfect, so bloody Orange.

Four games, four wins, seven goals for, two against—and through they go to a quarterfinal against Brazil in Port Elizabeth on July 2.

Dunga's dynamos have to favourites after their emphatic 3-0 win over Chile tonight but with Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder clicking, these Dutch could yet drive Brazil nuts.

Robben, proving he’s completely recovered from a dodgy hamstring, made his first start, and scored the opener after just 18 minutes. Sneijder played him in, and his low shot from 25 yards was pretty unstoppable.

With courageous Slovakia trying to find an equaliser, Sneijder clinched it seven minutes from time by slotting home Dirk Kuyt’s pull-back.

Robert Vittek was left to score a penalty with the very last kick of the match, but that was it from Slovakia, playing in their first World Cup finals since Czechoslovakia split in 1993.

It’s not like the Dutch aren’t in good form. They were unbeaten in qualifying, and are currently on a record-run of 23 games unbeaten.

Just twice Slovakia threatened to upset the orange apple cart in front of 62,000 at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. Maarten Stekelenburg was needed to tip over a Miroslav Stoch effort, and then he was called in to action from close range to deny Vittek.

Strange then that the ever-increasing orange army here are complaining about their form. Though England, France, and Italy would give anything to be in the last eight, the Dutch feel their side lacks flair.

They have never won the World Cup before, but there is a hankering after the “total football” of the sides that reached the finals in Germany '74 and Argentina '78.

Still, with Sneijder, Robben, and Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie beginning to fire, this could yet be a uniquely orange World Cup.

For an inside look at Soccer City, the World Cup final venue, see action from last night’s Argentina win over Mexico:

Neal Collins is in South Africa to marvel at the South Americans, mourn England... and promote his first novel A GAME APART, the real story behind this World Cup. For more information see


  1. Something is just not quite right with this Dutch team - 4 wins, yet they have played without rhythm or coordination. Germany, Argentina & Brazil all look better. Cannot see Holland beating Brazil after watching the Chile game today. Brazil defend so well and then move out and strike so quickly.

  2. That's the general consensus... and given the way the South Americans are playing... Germany are hardly worth rating on the basis of a win over England are they?!

  3. No, but I think they could have beaten just about everyone yesterday, and I could watch Ozil play all day.

  4. Love the way the German squad is 50 percent sons of immigrants, many of them born in other countries. So much for the master race!