After two excellent opening wins, Japan and Netherlands could consider this game the battle for top spot. With the Dutch were always favourites to stroll through Group D, Japan's win over Cameroon came as something of a surprise to the watching public as they had not looked impressive in some of their pre-tournament friendly games.
Friday, June 18, 2010
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However, a disciplined display that was not overflowing with creativity proved enough to see off the African side and Netherlands will be wary of pushing too many men forward in case they are caught on the counter attack. The likes of Yasuhito Endo and Keisuke Honda are dangerous on the break, while there is plenty of steel in midfield that provides the platform for their forays up the field.But of course with a history of attacking football, the Dutch are well versed in the art of attacking football. Most likely, Japan will sit and attempt to break up their attacks with men behind the ball, but Dirk Kuyt, Wesley Sneijder and Eljerio Elia have the vision and skill to unlock any defence.In their last encounter, the Dutch beat Japan 3-0 in September but did not have it all their own way before three goals in the last 20 minutes put gloss on the result. They will certainly be wary of the Blue Samurai's potential to cause an upset.Netherlands player to watch: Gregory van der Wiel. The subject of interest from Manchester City, Arsenal and others during the summer, the Ajax right back has been in great form for his club and has made the defensive slot his own for his country now. Quick and agile, Van der Wiel is also as brave as they come and is a solid influence when he is not engaging on one of his trademarks bursts down the flank.