Holland v Slovakia preview
Robben tipped for bench role; Strba suspended for Slovaks
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: June 28, 2010 11:19am
Holland face Slovakia in the last 16
Holland take on Slovakia for a place in the last eight of the World Cup on Monday at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The Dutch have high hopes of finally landing an elusive World Cup crown and they head into their last 16 clash in serene form.
Bert van Marwijk's side have yet to drop a point in the South Africa finals with wins over Denmark, Japan and Cameroon in Group E allowing the Oranje to believe that this summer's tournament could be their chance to claim football's greatest prize.
Only Argentina can match Holland's run to the knockout stages and they will be seriously fancied to progress to the quarter-finals where they could meet either Brazil or Chile on Saturday.
Slovakia, however, will have something to say about such suggestions and Vladimir Weiss' giant-killing side will be looking to repeat last Thursday's feat where they knocked out Italy.
The Repre looked a long shot to reach the latter stages heading into their final Group F game against the Azzurri, but a shock 3-2 win over the reigning champions has made everyone stand up and take notice of the European outfit's capabilities.
Holland, World Cup runners-up in the 1974 and 1978 finals, lost to Portugal at this stage of the tournament four years ago but they will feel confident they can see off the Slovaks with the wealth of talent at their disposal.
Star striker Robin van Persie opened his World Cup account in the Dutch's last game against Cameroon while key man Arjen Robben made his bow at the South Africa finals as a substitute after overcoming a hamstring injury.
But Van Marwijk is expected to leave the latter on the bench for the Durban clash with Slovakia.
Robben, who hit the post in the win over the Indomitable Lions minutes after coming on, looks likely to watch on from the sidelines and may only been called upon if necessary with the Dutch looking to save the Bayern Munich winger for the last eight.
That means Real Madrid performer Rafael Van der Vaart is set to retain his place in Holland's midfield while Khalid Boulahrouz and Gregory van der Wiel will battle it out for a place in the Dutch defence.
Slovakia, appearing in their first World Cup finals, could line up with the same side that stunned Italy last time out.
Juraj Kucka, Erik Jendrisek and Miroslav Stoch all shone in that game and Weiss will be looking to them to cause another upset against superior opposition.
The Slovaks will be without suspended Zdeno Strba, meaning the defensive midfield duties are likely to fall to Kamil Kopunek.