Tuesday, 29 June 2010

De Jong into quarters, Vladi out

Nigel de Jong's Holland made the quarter finals of the World Cup with a 2-1 win over Slovakia. It wasn't a great game; in keeping with Holland's group stage matches they were cautious and patient, and produced only occasional moments of attacking quality. Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder put them 2-0 up before Robert Vittek pulled back a late penalty. My report for Telegraph.co.uk is here.

For de Jong it was another solid game. His combination with Mark van Bommel is probably the least-compromising 'doble pivot' in the World Cup, with a hat nervously tipped to Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo. They closed down Slovakia and denied them space.

Some of Slovakia's opportunities came from Vladimir Weiss exploiting the positional naivety of Gregory van der Wiel. Two or three times Weiss surged behind van der Wiel but without much end product. Even with Vittek's late penalty it was a safe enough win for Holland, who now progress to the quater-finals.

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