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Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Monday, 28 June 2010 18:16 UK

World Cup 2010: Netherlands coach hails Robben goal

Highlights: Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk praised returning winger Arjen Robben for his goalscoring display in the Dutch's 2-1 last-16 win over Slovakia.

Robben scored the Netherlands' opening goal in his first start of the World Cup following a hamstring injury.

Wesley Sneijder added a late second goal to seal the win, despite Robert Vittek's late penalty for Slovakia.

"It's fantastic," said Van Marwijk. "After such an injury Robben still has the touch to score a goal like that."

Robben, operating on the right wing, gave his side the lead in the 18th minute, collecting a superb pass from Wesley Sneijder before cutting inside and firing low into the bottom corner.

The Bayern Munich man missed the Dutch's first two games of the tournament because of a hamstring injury, and made a brief substitute appearance in their final group game against Cameroon.

Robben opens the scoring against Slovakia

"The most important thing for me is to play my first match," said Robben. "It's only three weeks after the injury. That's not a lot of time. Today I felt good, maybe not 100% but I felt good.

"That was nice today. If you're at the World Cup it should be fun. We didn't play our best match today but the important thing is that we advanced."

The Netherlands were the more dangerous side throughout, creating the greater abundance of chances, but could only add one more goal through Sneijder's simple finish from a Dirk Kuyt pull-back.

"We had a good first half hour. And we started well in the second half," Van Marwijk said. "We should have scored 2-0, 3-0, maybe 4-0 there."

Sneijder notches Netherlands' second

However, they were also grateful to keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who had little to do throughout but in the second half, with the score at 1-0, made two superb saves in close succession from Miroslav Stoch and Vittek.

"At a crucial stage Maarten Stekelenburg saved us," said Van Marwijk.

But for Stekelenburg's saves, Vittek's late penalty - awarded after a foul on the striker by the Dutch keeper - the Netherlands dominance could have counted for nothing.

But with their progress secured, they next face a last-eight clash with either Brazil or Chile, who play each other later on Monday.

"I think we've got to improve for the quarter-finals," admitted Robben. "We'll have to play better than today. We must play better against Brazil or Chile, that's for sure."

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see also
Slovakia awed by Robben 'genius'
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup day 18 photos
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Monday's World Cup round-up
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Robben to decide on own fitness
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
We can go far, warns Dutch coach
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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The Scotsman Van Marwijk feels Dutch are building up a head of steam - 2 hrs ago Dutch stand in way of Brazil juggernaut - 3 hrs ago
Daijiworldcom World Cup Soccer: Holland's Returning Robben Helps Sink Slovakia - 4 hrs ago
Azeri-Press Information Agency 28/06/2010 Dutch outclass Slovakia to reach quarterfinals at World Cup - 5 hrs ago
Telegraph Brazil v Holland: Everton defender Johnny Heitinga relishes chance to take on the best - 8 hrs ago


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