Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Dutch outclass Slovakia to reach quarterfinals at World Cup

  • The Netherlands defeat Slovakia 2-1 to reach World Cup quarterfinals
  • Fit-again Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder score the Dutch goals
  • Robert Vittek scores late penalty for Slovakia in Durban
  • The Netherlands will next play either five-time champions Brazil or Chile

(CNN) -- Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder fired the Netherlands into the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Slovakia on Monday.

Robben, starting a game for the first time at the tournament following a hamstring injury, gave his side the lead from the edge of the area after 18 minutes and Sneijder sealed the victory by slotting home a late second.

Robert Vittek scored a consolation penalty for Slovakia with the last kick of the game, which made him the tournament's joint leading scorer with four goals.

Slovakia, competing at their first World Cup as an independent nation following the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993, caused one of the shocks of the group phase with a 3-2 victory over holders Italy, but they were outclassed by the 1974 and 1978 finalists in Durban.

Brazil storm into quarterfinals

Bayern Munich winger Robben collected a long ball from Sneijder on the right wing, cut inside two defenders and blasted a left-footed shot into the near corner from the edge of the area.

We prepared for three days for Robben, but he's an absolute genius
--Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss

"We prepared for three days for Robben, but he's an absolute genius," Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss told AFP.

"He knows exactly what he's doing, that's why he's played for all those great clubs. When I saw his name on the team startlist I knew it made the Netherlands 50 percent stronger."

The Dutch seemed happy to sit back and protect their lead, and with Slovakia offering little in attack, the remainder of the first half was cagey and uninspiring, with Sneijder and Robin Van Persie squandering half-chances for the Netherlands.

Robben almost doubled the Dutch lead early in the second half with an action replay of his first goal, but this time his low strike was brilliantly saved by Jan Mucha.

Moments later, Robben squared the ball for Mark Van Bommel, but his shot struck the goalkeeper full in the face and rebounded safely for Slovakia.

The Slovaks did not create a notable opportunity until 67 minutes had been played, when Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg tipped Miroslav Stoch's shot over the bar.

Then striker Vittek found himself through on goal but his powerful drive was pushed aside by Stekelenburg.

The Dutch rounded off their fourth straight victory in the 83rd minute when Dirk Kuyt rounded the goalkeeper and round Sneijder, who easily passed the ball into the empty net.

The Slovaks won a penalty deep into stoppage-time when Martin Jakubko was fouled by Stekelenburg in the area, and Vittek slotted home to ensure his team signed off from the World Cup with a goal.

"In the second half we had the best spell of the game and should have buried our opportunities," said Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk.

"If you don't score a second goal, the game remains exciting. Our second goal finally decided the game."

The Netherlands, now unbeaten in 23 matches, will next play either five-time winners Brazil or Chile, who meet later on Monday in Johannesburg.

Part of complete coverage on
Psychic octopus to retire
Paul the octopus, who correctly predicted the outcome of eight World Cup matches in a row, is retiring from the forecasting business.
CNN's Twitter Buzz
Who's tweeting about what? Follow the World Cup trends and all the latest action from South Africa.
Are you passionate enough?
Are you a fanatical supporter of your national football team? Do you like to shout about your opinions? Become a CNN Super Fan!
Results and Standings
Check out all the scores, group tables and fixtures
CNN teams up with Foursquare
Let your friends know where you're watching the World Cup, and earn CNN badges while you're having fun.