World Cup favorites Netherlands edge Japan 1-0 in Group E

13:53, June 20, 2010      

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World Cup hot favorites Netherlands edged Japan 1-0 in their Group E match here on Saturday.

It was a high quality game for both sides as the two boasted concentration, accurate passes, composure and game reading.

Both sides played the same style of football. Japan spent more time in defence but defended so well that the Dutch side did not get any clear scoring chances in the first half.

Things changed in the 53rd minute when Dutch forward Van Persie laid a pass back to midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who belted it home from 20 yards. It was a howler by Kawashima, who got a hand to it but it was a weak effort at keeping the shot out.

Sneijder now has two goals in his two games against Japan and three in his last four games overall. Japan paid a lot for not fixing a marker on Sneijder today.

In the 72nd minute, Rafael Van der Vaart was replaced by Eljero Elia who played really well against Denmark. Five minutes later, Elia almost got Van Persie through on goal, but Japanese keeper Eiji Kawashima read it and came out in time to collect.

Ibrahim Afellay, another Dutch substitute, got free down the line and broke into the box in the 80th minute but his final touch was too heavy which allowed Kawashima to smother.

After eight minutes, Klaas Huntelaar, also a substitute, took possession, and Afellay took it off his toes and broke into the box on a solo run. This time his shot got past the keeper but defender Marcus Tanaka eventually cleared.

Japan also created many chances after the interval. The best one came in the 90th minute when the ball was headed on into the area, Shinji Okazaki, a substitute forward, was in the clear and he should have levelled but he blazed it over, only one inch above the crossbar.

Dutch talented striker Arjen Robben remained on the bench as the Dutch are unchanged after their win over Denmark.

In their first group matches, Japan upset Cameroon 1-0 and the Netherlands beat Denmark 2-0.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:叶欣)

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