Newspaper article International New York Times

Dutch Get Defensive about Their High Scoring ; They Scored 10 Goals in First-Round Sweep and Avoid Brazil in the 2nd

Newspaper article International New York Times

Dutch Get Defensive about Their High Scoring ; They Scored 10 Goals in First-Round Sweep and Avoid Brazil in the 2nd

Article excerpt

With two late goals, the Dutch finished first in their group, avoiding a second-round match with the host team.

The Dutch have been here before in a World Cup. In South Africa four years ago on their way to the final, they also swept all three of their games in the first round.

But they have never been this productive in goal scoring this early: not in the days of Johan Cruyff and Total Football in the 1970s; not in the days of Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Kluivert in 1998.

The Dutch on Monday broke open a match against Chile that was long on full contact and short on open space in the 77th minute when Leroy Fer, a second-half substitute, took advantage of his first touch by scoring on a header from six yards out.

The Dutch struck again in added time on a counterattack when Arjen Robben made just the right cross after a long run down the left wing and Memphis Depay, another second-half substitute, stabbed it into the net with his right foot.

The goal finished off a 2-0 victory in style and confirmed that the Netherlands would finish first in Group B ahead of Chile, thereby avoiding a second-round match with Brazil.

"Really important," said Fer, whose goal was his first for the Netherlands. "We wanted to win the group to avoid some teams, but you have to win every game from here to win the title."

The Netherlands will face Mexico in the second round, and Chile, one of the upbeat stories of this World Cup, will face Brazil, the team that the Dutch eliminated from the last World Cup but is at home this time.

"For sure, that's tough," said Jorge Valdivia, a Chilean midfielder. "But we Chilenos are fighters, and as much on the inside as on the outside, we are going to battle until the very end."

Mexico and its goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa have given up one goal in this Cup, but the Dutch have scored 10 in their three games. Ten goals is not bad for a team that Chile's coach, Jorge Sampaoli, said was only really interested in defending.

Robben and Robin van Persie each have three goals, but Louis van Gaal, the Dutch coach, is also getting production from the new generation. The 20-year-old Depay has scored twice, and the 24- year-old Fer, who once considered representing the Netherlands Antilles, now has his first goal for the Netherlands. …

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