World Cup Update: Brazil, Dutch head to quarterfinal match-up

The Netherlands beats Slovakia in organized fashion, 2-1

Arjen Robben celebrates his goal against Slovakia

As stated here yesterday, the Netherlands easily defeated Slovakia, 2-1…the 1 being the result of a made penalty kick in the 93′ of the match.  My (3-1 or 2-0) two-goal win prediction was pretty accurate, though.

The Dutch team played very organized football and had the game under control from the beginning.  Arjen Robben announced his return to the starting line-up with a goal in the 18th minute and the Oranje were on their way.  His 20 yard shot was a beauty!  Later in the match, Wesley Sneijder found an empty net after a magnificent run and pass combination.

“I was pretty free in my game,” Robben said. “I know I’m not yet at my top level, but I was pretty confident today and that was a great pass by Wesley.”

The Dutch were tested, as their goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg came up with two key saves in the 67th minute.  The Dutch extended their team-record unbeaten streak to 23 games.  In this tournament, the Dutch won all three of its group games, with its last loss coming to Australia in September, 2008, a run of 18 wins and five draws.

The only blemish on the game came when a penalty was called on the Dutch in the 3rd minute of extra time at the end of the match, as Robert Vittek of Slovenia scored the lone goal.  It was his fourth of the tournament, tying him with Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain for the tournament lead.

This victory moves the Netherlands to the quarterfinals on July 2, where they will face Brazil.  The Dutch history in the World Cup is good…they reached consecutive World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978 (my prime soccer-playing years) where they lost to Germany and Argentina respectively.  They won their only major tournament in the 1988 European Championship.

Brazil Crushes Chile, 3-0

Robinho and Brazil now await the Dutch on July 2

It was as easy as you think looking at the score.  Brazil played “The Beautiful Game” today and the fans in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium sambaed along to the beat!  Again, and I will toot my own horn when I am right, I predicted a 2 goal victory by Brazil…close enough for me! 

Kaka and Robinho played freely and Brazil moved onto the quarterfinals match-up against The Netherlands on July 2.  Brazil…the team with one-name players…has not lost to Chile in their last eight match-ups…and were not challenged in this game.

Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho each scored a goal in this game.  Juan’s was first, at the 34th minute mark, as his header from a corner went past the Chilean goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo.  Luis Fabiano added a second goal just four minutes later receiving a one-touch pass from Kaka and dribbling past Bravo before hitting a nice shot into the open net.  Robinho scored his first goal of the tournament with a shot from the edge of the area in the 59th minute.

The five-time World Cup champions, Brazil, will now face The Netherlands in a quarterfinal match on July 2.   Brazil has now reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup every time since the 1990 tournament in Italy, when it fell 1-0 to Diego Maradona’s Argentina in the second round. Brazil coach Dunga and assistant coach Jorginho were starters in that Brazilian team.

The Brazilians won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups in that span.

Not that it would have mattered, but the game Chileans were without three of their starters due to yellow card or red card suspensions.  And it would NOT have mattered.  Brazil has the look of a team headed to the World Cup Finals.

Brazil-Netherlands Quarterfinal Match Set for July 2

Brazil’s next match, against the Dutch, will be a great test for them.  The methodical Dutch team vs. a free-flowing Brazilian squad.  Both playing outstanding football…both headed for a collision of styles.  I really like both teams, but one will be heading home next Friday.  Having sat with the Brazilian fans at World Cup matches in the U.S. in 1994, I can say these people know how to party!  The women are beautiful – and very knowledgeable about their football.  Did I mention they are beautiful?  I may really need to consider travelling to Brazil for World Cup 2014.

I will be back on Thursday with my predictions for both quarterfinal matches on July 2!

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