Slovakia eye another scalp
Slovakia's famous win over Italy is fuelling their belief that they can pull off another shock against Holland.
Last Updated: 27/06/10 7:47pm
Slovakia claim their famous win over Italy is fuelling their belief that they can pull off another shock against Holland.
The unfancied Slovaks are preparing for their first knockout clash at a major tournament when they take on an impressive Dutch side at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Not many are giving the Repre much hope of reaching the last eight on Monday, but coach Vladimir Weiss insists his side can emulate Thursday's 3-2 giant-killing victory over the current champions.
"What we've learnt since we started the World Cup is that everything's possible, but that's an old cliche," said Weiss, who played for the then-Czechoslovakia in the 1990 World Cup.
"What we have shown is that we can play football against very strong teams. Of course we came here to fight for something sensational for us.
"We hope it'll be a beautiful game for us tomorrow. If we want to play well against the Netherlands, we'll have to repeat our performance against Italy, for whom we have big respect."
Weiss, who hinted he might recall his son Vladimir Jr to the starting line-up, admitted that the Dutch's attacking style means Slovakia face an entirely new challenge from the one they passed against the defensive Italians.
"The Netherlands play differently from Italy, with a game based on multiple passes and creating surprises, that's their quality," Weiss said, who could be boosted by the exclusion of Holland's star winger Arjen Robben, who has been tipped to be named on Bert van Marwijk's bench.
"They play differently with or without Robben, who's a top, world-class player -- they have five or six of them.
"But we also have some top players who managed to beat Italy."
After failing to find the net in nine qualifying games, striker Robert Vittek now finds himself among the world's elite goal scorers in South Africa.
"I'm very happy to be among the top scorers especially after all the criticism I got, but I'm not thinking too much about it," said Vittek, who plays for Turkish club Ankaragucu.
"It's a dream to be playing at the World Cup, in a stadium like the one in Durban against opponents like the Netherlands.
"For us it is a fantastic, new experience. We're not thinking about the result, we're just focusing on the match, as we did against Italy."
But he added: "The Dutch are very different from Italy, but we're looking forward to the game.
"There's a lot more pressure on the Dutch. They have to win while we just turn up and nothing's expected of us."