Impressive as Arjen Robben and his Dutch teammates were in advancing to the World Cup quarterfinals, they seek much more.
The Netherlands reached the final eight Monday when standouts Robben and Wesley Sneijder scored in each half of a 2-1 victory over Slovakia in Durban, South Africa.
“We played a difficult match. Main thing is, we are through,” Robben said. “Probably the perfect game has still to come.”
The Dutch might need to approach perfection in their next match against five-time champion Brazil.
The Oranje, who have never won soccer’s biggest prize, went ahead in the 18th minute. Robben, who made his first start of the tournament after recovering from a hamstring injury, cut inside from the right wing and found the net with a low, precise shot from 20 yards.
“It’s fantastic,” Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said. “After such an injury that he has the touch to score a goal like that.”
Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg preserved the win with two key saves in the 67th and the Dutch extended their team-record unbeaten streak to 23 games. Robert Vittek scored on a last-second penalty kick for Slovakia.
“At a crucial stage Maarten Stekelenburg saved us,” van Marwijk said.
Brazil 3, Chile 0: Five-time champion Brazil cruised past its South American rival in Johannesburg.
Juan opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a firm header from near the penalty spot off a corner kick. Luis Fabiano added to the lead in the 38th, receiving a one-touch pass from Kaka and dribbling past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo inside the area before hitting the open net.
Robinho scored his first goal in the tournament with a shot from the top of the area in the 59th minute, a one-timer into the far corner.
Chile is the first South American team eliminated. Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are in the final eight, and Paraguay plays Japan today.
The victory in front of nearly 55,000 fans at Ellis Park extended Brazil’s dominance over Chile. It was the eighth consecutive win; the last loss to Chile was 3-0 in a 2000 qualifier for the 2002 World Cup.