Dutch Down Slovakia, 2-1, To Set Up Quarterfinal Blockbuster With Brazil

It may not have been convincing, but it was controlled, as the Dutch used an Arjen Robben goal to take an early lead they'd never relinquish, putting Slovakia out at the Round of 16.

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World Cup 2010: Netherlands Downs Slovakia With Goals From Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder

Arjen Robben made his return to the Dutch lineup with an 18th minute goal, with Wesley Sneijder's late tally leading to a 2-1 victory Monday over Slovakia, putting the Netherlands into the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup.

It was a controlled if unspectacular performance by the Dutch, who looked the better side but gave the Slovaks multiple second half opportunities to equalize.  Robert Vittek, who would convert a penalty kick in second half stoppage time, missed an opportunity for 12 yards half-way through the period, with a Juraj Kucka shot from distance testing Maarten Stekelenburg moments before.

At that time, the Dutch were resting on Robben's goal, a left-footed shot from 22-yards that beat Jan Mucha to his near post.  Robben had run onto a long ball and was on a break against two Slovak defenders when he cut-in from the right and hit his shot.

That was the only scoring until the 84th minute, when Dirk Kuyt beat Mucha to a ball at the right edge of the penalty area.  With the `keeper out, Kuyt rolled a ball across to box for Sneijder, whose easy finish gave him his second goal of the tournament.

Ten minutes later, deep into second half stoppage time, Vittek was brought down in the box by Stekelenburg, with the Slovakian attacker converting a penalty kick for his fourth goal of the tournament.

With the 2-1 win, the Netherlands moves on to the quarterfinals, where they will face the winner of today's Brazil-Chile match.

Slovakia is eliminated, having made it to the Round of 16 in their first major tournament as an independent nations.

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World Cup 2010, Netherlands Vs. Slovakia: Robert Vittek Penalty Kick Brings Slovakia Within One

Robert Vittek scored his fourth goal of the World Cup as the last action of the match, bringing Slovakia to within 2-1 from the spot as the referee blew fulltime.

Moments earlier, Maarten Stekelenburg brought down the Slovakian attacker in the six yard box as a deflected pass led to a Vittek opportunity behind the Dutch line.  Stekelenberg came out to play the ball and ended-up taking down Vittek as the defender moved the ball to his left.

Vittek went left with his shot as Stekelenburg went right, making it 2-1, Netherlands.

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World Cup 2010, Netherlands Vs. Slovakia: Wesley Sneijder Gives Dutch Crucial Second Goal

Wesley Sneijder has reaped the benefits of Dirk Kuyt's work, scoring his second goal of the tournament into a `keeper-less net to give the Dutch a 2-0 lead.

Kuyt took advantage of Slovakian goalkeeper Jan Mucha coming-off his line to get a bouncing ball, with the Dutch attacker beating the goalie to the ball, heading it into space, and eventually rolling a ball across goal for the oncoming Sneijeder.  The attacking midfielder hit a shot into the next before Mucha could return, giving Holland a 2-0 lead.

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World Cup 2010, Netherlands Vs. Slovakia: Arjen Robben Goal Puts Dutch Ahead In 18th Minute

Netherlands right wing Arjen Robben was a surprise inclusion in Bert van Marwijk's starting XI, still thought to be recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him from starting the Dutch's group matches.  But against Slovakia, Robben has vindicated van Marwijk's decision early, scoring in the 18th minute to put the Netherlands ahead 1-0.

Robben took the ball on the right of attack and cut in to get the ball on his left foot.  With Rabaslav Zabavnik and Jan Durica unable to close him out, Robben go a shot off from 22 yards out to beat Jan Mucha near post.

The Netherlands remains ahead 1-0 in the 23rd minute.

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