Record five-time champion Brazil beat Chile 3-0 to set up a World Cup quarterfinal against the Netherlands, which defeated Slovakia 2-1.
Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho scored in Johannesburg last night after Brazil withstood early pressure. Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder scored for the Netherlands in Durban before Robert Vittek pulled a goal back with a last-second penalty kick.
Brazil, the only nation to have won soccer’s biggest prize outside its own continent, advanced to its fifth straight quarterfinal as it seeks its first world title since 2002.
“Chile played very well, they had a lot of possession and passed and attacked well,” Brazil coach Carlos Dunga told reporters. “But we maintained a balanced approach in attack and defense. In these World Cup games you have to attack and play open football, and that’s what we did today.”
He said the Netherlands will be a “very difficult” opponent on July 2 in Port Elizabeth. The teams have played three times at the World Cup, with Brazil triumphing in a penalty shootout in their most-recent meeting in 1998.
“They’re technically very able, and they play a similar style to South American teams,” Dunga added.
Today, Paraguay takes on Japan in Pretoria for a place in the quarterfinals, while Spain plays Portugal in Cape Town in the late match.
In Johannesburg, Brazil defender Juan jumped above a crowd of players to head Maicon’s corner into the roof of the net after 34 minutes. Fabiano took the ball around Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo for the second four minutes later after collecting Kaka’s pass in the penalty area.
Man of the match Robinho made it 3-0 in the second half by firing in after a layoff by Ramires, who had dribbled 30 yards down the middle.
Chile put up late resistance and midfielder Jorge Valdivia hit a 20-yard volley just over the bar after 65 minutes. Humberto Suazo turned Brazil captain Lucio and forced a save from goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
“I don’t think it was as much of a one-sided game as the result suggests,” Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa said. “We had chances, but we didn’t have the punch to convert possession into danger.”
The Netherlands, the runner-up at the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, eliminated Slovakia from its first tournament since the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993. Slovakia had ousted defending champion Italy with a 3-2 win to advance from their group.
Robben scored after 18 minutes, cutting inside the defense and firing in a left-foot shot from 20 yards. It was his first start of the tournament following a hamstring injury.
“We’re delighted to be through, but I think we’ll have to improve for the quarterfinals,” Robben told reporters after the game. “If it’s Brazil, it’ll need to be a little bit better than today.”
Slovakia goalkeeper Jan Mucha dived to divert another shot by Robben after 50 minutes. He blocked Joris Mathijsen’s eight- yard shot a minute later, the ball smashing into his face.
Mucha took another blow when he collided with Dirk Kuyt as he punched out Robin van Persie’s free kick.
Slovakia, which had three shots on goal to the Netherlands’ nine, almost leveled when midfielder Miroslav Stoch cut inside and had his 12-yard shot pushed over the crossbar by goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
The Dutch goalie then came off his line and dived to block Vittek’s effort from 10 yards.
Sneijder made it 2-0 after 84 minutes, side-footing into an empty net after Mucha came out of goal and failed to clear. Kuyt supplied the cross to Sneijder.
Vittek converted the penalty kick in the fourth minute of added time after Stekelenburg brought down Martin Jakubko.
“We’re now with the last eight in the world,” said Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk. “I think we can be happy.”