Sportsball (World Cup 2010), Matchday Eighteen (Last 16)

Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia

Effective but underwhelming appears to be the common sentiment about the Dutch. They controlled the game, and never looked like giving up that control, but they don’t play entertaining football.

If might not be good to watch but it’s very effective. 23 games unbeaten now, the Dutch have had a easy time of it so far in the World Cup. With Robben back in the starting line up, they’ve gotten stronger, shown in the excellent first goal.

Slovakia seemed to lack the passion and heart they had on display when they beat Italy. They made chances, but failed to really trouble the Dutch keeper, save for a brief five-minute spell in the second half. Once the second goal was in, it was over, bar the last kick of the game from the penalty spot. Dissapointing.

So the Dutch ease into the quarter finals. Interesting tie coming up there.

Brazil 3-0 Chile

It was like a mirror image of the Argentina/Mexico game, minus the controversy. Brazil smash in three goals past a hapless Chilean defence. A lightning five minute period in the first giving two of them and an excellent team effort getting the third.

Brazil were in charge once they scored. Till then it was even enough, with both teams trying to out-flair the other. But Brazil made the chances and took advantage of a Chile defence that gave away far too much room. Fabiano looks like he might be the big star of this tournament and Kaka is doing a great job as the assistance to the other attackers. Brazil’s defence also looks very solid.

That was something Chile found out in the second as Brazil allowed them to come on. Too many long shots going well wide. Too many players running into the brick wall that was the yellow shirted defence. It’s a bad end to the World Cup of a team many predicted would be the dark horses. Out of their depth, big time. It wasn’t like they had no experience against Brazil, so I can only guess it was the stage.

So, Brazil and the Dutch. Hard to call, like so many other quarter finals. Brazil seem to be all attacking flair, and they do have plenty of that, but their defence is underappreciated. The Dutch have a good team ethic, and some great star players. But, ultimately, the Netherlands haven’t impressed and haven’t been truly tested. I think the undefeated streak is coming to an end on Saturday.

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