Sunday 22 April 2018

Huntelaar maintains Holland's perfect record

Cameroon 1
Holland 2

Mark Ogden in Cape Town

Arjen Robben reinforced Holland's World Cup prospects by returning from injury as the Dutch confirmed top spot in Group E with victory against Cameroon.

The Bayern Munich winger, sidelined for three weeks with a calf injury, created the winner for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on 84 minutes shortly after being introduced as a substitute.

A second-half penalty from Samuel Eto'o, which cancelled out Robin van Persie's 36th-minute opener, appeared to have dented Holland's 100pc record.

But the Dutch secured a last-16 tie against Slovakia when Huntelaar scored from a tight angle after Robben's 25-yard strike had hit the post.

Considering their status as one of Africa's footballing superpowers, Cameroon's failure to even threaten qualification for the knock-out stages will be viewed as one of the continent's biggest disappointments.

But Cameroon are a fading force. Their heroics of Italia 90 remain imprinted in World Cup folklore, but the Indomitable Lions have won just one game on this stage -- a 1-0 success against Saudi Arabia in 2002 -- since Roger Milla danced in celebration following a second-round win against Colombia in 1990.

Holland are proving to be a genuine force, though, and Robben's introduction further sharpened their cutting edge.

If the former Chelsea winger can avoid further injury setbacks, even the prospect of a quarter-final meeting with Brazil should not overawe them (© Daily Telegraph, London).

Cameroon -- Hamidou, Njitap, M'bia Etoundi, N'Koulou (R Song 73), Assou-Ekotto, Makoun, A Song, N'Guemo, Bong (Aboubakar 56), Eto'o, Choupo-Moting (Idrissou 72).

Holland -- Stekelenburg, Boulahrouz, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Van Bronckhorst, Kuyt (Elia 67), Van Bommel, De Jong, Van der Vaart (Robben 73), Sneijder, Van Persie (Huntelaar 58).

Ref -- P Pozo (Chile).

Irish Independent

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