Holland vs. Slovakia World Cup Soccer Match at Moses Mabhida Stadium Durban, South Africa 10 AM EST Monday June 28, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: Holland 1.45 / Slovakia 7.00 / Draw 4.10
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Holland -250 / Slovakia +700 / Draw +315
In a playoff match on Monday afternoon between a team that was supposed to make the knockout stage and one that is a bit of surprise, Holland takes on Slovakia. Holland was one of the few teams that went though group play undefeated and they have one of the best offenses in the tournament, yet they have not really showed that yet.
Slovakia’s World Cup did not start well, as they played to a 1-1 draw against somewhat weak New Zealand team giving up the equalizer goal in injury time. In their next match they were blanked by Paraguay and it did not look they would advance to the round of 16 with defending champion Italy in their last group match. However, they shocked the world and beat Italy, which propelled them to the playoffs.
BET THE HOLLAND/SLOVAKIA WORLD CUP
SOCCER MATCH USING YOUR CREDIT CARD AT THE WEB’S BIGGEST SOCCER BOOKMAKER:
In their last group matches Holland beat Cameroon 2-1 and Slovakia beat Italy 3-2.
Holland’s defense was supposed to be their weakness coming into South Africa, but they only gave up one goal in their 3 group matches and it came on a penalty.
Slovakia’s offense is not their strength, but they scored 3 goals on Italy, who were thought to have a stellar defense.
With Italy and France out of the World Cup it is the first time in the history of the tournament where the defending champion and runner up are both out of the playoffs.
In the match against Italy the Slovakians played dead even in the time of possession battle (50% to 50%) and that was a big key, as Italy did not control the match. The Slovakians will have to do that again against Holland.
Holland did not look great in their 2-1 over Cameroon in their last group match and did not really come alive until Arjen Robben came in as a substitution in the middle of the 2nd half. However, the Dutch were never in real trouble and their defense played well only allowing Cameroon to have 3 shots on target.
This is the first ever match between these 2 countries.
Holland Recent Form:
6/24/2010 Holland 2 Cameroon 1 (World Cup)
6/19/2010 Holland 1 Japan 0 (World Cup)
6/14/2010 Holland 2 Denmark 0 (World Cup)
Slovakia Recent Form:
6/24/2010 Slovakia 3 Italy 2 (World Cup)
6/20/2010 Slovakia 0 Paraguay 2 (World Cup)
6/15/2010 Slovakia 1 New Zealand 1 (World Cup)
Arjen Robben is likely to make his first start of the World Cup against Slovakia and the Slovakian defense will really have to key on him. The Bayern Munich winger is great at breaking down defenses and his energy is much needed and he or fellow winger Robin Van Persie will score in this match and both may do so.
Slovakia cannot allow the Dutch to dominate the time of possession and to do that they will have to contain Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt in the midfield. Slovakia also has to be careful not to commit fouls near their box, as Sneijder is one of the best players in the world at scoring on free kicks.
Holland likes to push forward on offense so Slovakia will have to look for counter-attacking chances.
Slovakia striker Robert Vittek is tied for the lead with goals scored in the World Cup and he is great at finding open spaces and creating goal scoring chances. However, he will be the focus of the Dutch defense so I do think he will score in this match.
The defense of the Dutch is not their strength and even though they have only conceded one goal they have not played a team with a great offense. That continues in this match so I expect the Holland to keep a clean sheet and keep Slovakia from scoring.
Jason’s Pick: Holland may be starting to click on offense and that will keep Slovakia on their heels. Look for them to score an early goal and keep applying the pressure up front, as they will win this match by a score of 2-0 or 3-0.