Day 18 Recap

June 28, 2010 - Durban, South Africa - epa02228443 Dutch Dirk Kuyt (C) shoulders teammate Wesley Sneijder after Sneijder scored the 2-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2010 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Slovakia at the Durban stadium in Durban, South Africa, 28 June 2010. At right is Dutch forward Eljero Elia.

Netherlands 2 – Slovakia 1

Netherlands, historically a pass-first side, have completed their transformation into counter-attacking geniuses. The first goal was a product of Wesley Sneijder’s beautiful long pass to his only teammate in an attacking position. That player happened to be the incomparable Arjen Robben, who cut from right to left – he does this with regularity yet no one can seem to stop him – and blasted into the net (18th). The Dutch where unable to find a second until Sneijder scored in the 84th. Slovakia did worry Maarten Stekelenburg throughout the second half. However, they were not able to pick up a consolation goal until the last kick of the match: Robert Vittek scored a penalty in the 93rd.

Brazil 3 – Chile 0

Poor Chile. Their reward for fielding the tournament’s most attack-minded lineup was to face the seleção. Brazil, like the Netherlands, are historically regarded as a passing team but in their current incarnation defend first. Defender Juan opened their account off a Maicon corner (34th). The following goals were devastating counters both. On their second tally, the Brazilians used four touches from three players to find the net (Luis Fabiano, 38th). And though the third wasn’t as economical, the counter was just as swift. Midfielder Ramires, filling-in for the injured Felipe Melo, rumbled over half the field and between three defenders before assisting on Robinho’s 7th goal in the striker’s last 4 matches against Chile.

Netherlands and Brazil will meet on Friday.

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