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Look ahead to Round 2

Going into the second day of competition for Group F all four teams were equal.  One point a piece, one goal scored and one goal conceded.  Saturday saw Group E eliminate Cameroon and guarantee the Dutch a spot in the second round.

Given the vital nature of this second set of matches for Group F I thought we would an opportunity to look at the possible opposition the Dutch would face in the second round.  Paraguay comforably won their match against Slovakia by two goals.  Italy and New Zealand clashed in the second game, the Kiwis taking a shock lead and Italy equalising through a dubious penalty.


Paraguay are one of the impressive South American participants who have maintained the status quo while the rest of Europe seems to be wilting under pressure.  Their match against Slovakia served to prove what we already knew about them.  They are an attacking side unlike many of the underdogs we have seen thus far who seek to cut out passing lanes and frustrate opponents.  Paraguay consistently look to get forward and score goals rather than prevent them from being scored.

Much of their impetus comes from the wings, again something that really only Chile has done so far.  In Santa Cruz they have an experienced centre forward who can ably hold up when necessary and can also take a scoring opportunity when called upon.  The first goal today came from a lovely piece of passing completed by a deft finish: both things the Dutch have not seen thus far.

Paraguay were certainly good value for their win and have played the best football in the group thus far.

The Other Team

As for the other team who the Dutch could face well…I can’t be sure.  I was expecting to write about Italy but after their draw with New Zealand I can’t really be sure.

Conventional wisdom says Italy will win their match against Slovakia and New Zealand are unlikely to get full points against Paraguay but who can say for sure?

I want to say that the Dutch would be able to comfortably handle New Zealand should the unthinkable happen and they make it through but you just can’t write them off.  That said the Dutch have attacking power unlike anything that exists in Group F.

The Italians while certainly organized have lacked any cutting edge and killer instinct.  I think that if they meet the Dutch in the next round and the Oranje are able to execute their plan of possession football the Italians will be beaten.  In truth the Dutch haven’t been stretched or even truly tested.  They have only been made to wait thus far and that will not last as they progress through the tournment.

The Dutch are expected to move past the second round.  Initially Italy were not expected but they look now to be the more likely opponents and the Dutch will need to be at their best if they are going to add to the Azzurri’s misery.

  1. Tiago Pereira
    June 20, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    I expect the Dutch to move past the second round as well, whoever they face. Looking even further, what would one expect from a Netherlands x Brazil in the 1/4 finals??

    • June 20, 2010 at 9:48 PM

      On today’s evidence the Dutch will certainly have to find goals and their defence would have a definite test unlike anything they’ve experienced thus far.

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