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Date: 14 December 2018

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WORLD CUP 2010 Updates: Netherlands World Cup dark horses?

[Posted 06 Jun 2010]
WORLD CUP 2010 Updates: Netherlands World Cup dark horses?

By Brighton Mupangavanhu and Ezekiel Charika

Netherlands Wallop Hungary 6-1

Holland followed up their impressive 4-1 demolition of Ghana five days ago, with a performance for the archives in the 6-1 drubbing of Hungary in Amsterdam yesterday.

The home team scored through goals from double scorer and second half substitutte Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Mark van Bommel and Eljero Elia. The visitors had taken a surprise lead in the 6th minute through a goal from Balazs Dzsudzsak.

Holland's win yesterday did not come without cost. Arjen Robben limped off the pitch after injuring his harmstring when in possession in the 85th minute. The seriousness of the injury is yet to be confirmed.

Statistics from Netherlands' friendly matches and World Cup group qualifying matches where the Dutch team qualified with a 100% record will surely send tremors into their World Cup opponents' camps. The Dutch will open their group match on 14 June against Denmark, who produced a near lacklustre performance in their 0-1 defeat to hosts Bafana yesterday at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. Japan and Cameroon complete Netherlands' group E.

Pundits' pre-tournament favourites appear to be Argentina, Spain and all-time favourites Brazil. Anyone can write the Netherlands off at their own peril. It is difficult to conclude a team's tournament fortunes by merely looking at friendly matches. So many factors come in when considering friendly matches as a determinant factor; the quality of opposition, the relaxed atmosphere during friendly matches. Some teams perform better under such conditions, but then wilt under pressure. Yet the Netherlands are showing great balance in their team at the moment. The defence looks solid, the midfield jaggernault is well-oiled and the attack-line is sharp.

Given the added fact that the Dutch finished their qualifying group with a 100% record, Netherlands have thrust themselves forward among favourites to win the World Cup tournament. The only worrying and chilling reality for Dutch supporters is history. The Dutch have flattered only to deceive in the past. They have come to previous World Cup tournaments on the background of impressive preparatory match results, only to stagger and fall under the weight of expectations. Will history prove repeat itself? Dutch fans will hope not.


Ghana win at last

Ghana needed a soft 89th minute goal from substitute Quincy Owusu Abeyie to overcome little-known Latvia in their friendly match played yesterday.

The 1-0 victory for Ghana followed poor performance by the Black Stars in their last friendly match against Netherlands on 1 June which they lost 1-4.

Ghana missed many scoring opportunities through efforts from Asamoah Gyan and Kwadwo Asamoah through out the match.


Mikel out of Nigeria's World Cup Squad

John Obi Mikel has told the Nigerian authorities that he does not feel that he is ready to take risks by participating at the World Cup and risk his club career. He has been confirmed out of the Nigerian World Cup squad and will be replaced by the uncapped Brown Ideye of French side Sochaux. Mikel had not really been part of the Nigerian squad ever since their first camp in Durban about a month ago. Mikel had a knee surgery in May and feels he has not recoved sufficiently for the rigours of World Cup football.

"We have dropped Mikel from the squad after he said he did not want to risk his career," reported a spokesperson from the Nigerian Football Association.

Nigeria are in group B with pre-tournament favourites Argentina, Greece and South Korea. Their opening World Cup match is against two-time World Champions Argentina on 12 June.

Today, Nigeria will play North Korea in Johannesburg in a final tune-up match before their first World Cup match.

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