- Associated Press - Monday, June 28, 2010

DURBAN, South Africa | Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder scored in each half Monday to give the Netherlands a 2-1 win over Slovakia and a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals.

The Dutch went ahead in the 18th minute when Robben cut inside from the right flank and found the target with a low, precise shot from 20 meters (yards). Sneijder doubled the lead into an empty net in the 84th.

It was only a month ago when Robben and Sneijder were on opposite sides in the Champions League final, Robben with Bayern Munich and Sneijder with winner Inter Milan.

“We played a difficult match. Main thing is, we are through,” Robben said. “Probably the perfect game has still to come.”

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.

“At a crucial stage Maarten Stekelenburg saved us,” Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said.

In between the goals from Robben and Sneijder, the Dutch wasted numerous chances.

“We had a good first half hour. And we started well in the second half,” Van Marwijk said. “We should have scored 2-0, 3-0, maybe 4-0 there.”

In the quarterfinals, the Netherlands will face five-time champion Brazil.

“We must play better against Brazil … that’s for sure,” Robben said.

Robert Vittek pulled one back for Slovakia from the penalty spot in injury time, tying him with Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain for the tournament scoring lead with four goals.

Slovakia upset Italy 3-2 in its previous match, a result that eliminated the defending champions, and had to be satisfied with its tournament debut as an independent nation.

“We played with heart and courage and we are proud that we made it to the second round, but the better team advanced,” Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss said. “The penalty made us feel a little better on the flight home.”

Robben got his first start of the tournament, having injured his left hamstring on June 5 in the Netherlands’ final warmup match against Hungary. He came on as a second-half substitute against Cameroon in the Netherlands’ last group match and hit the post, after which Klaas Jan Huntelaar knocked in the rebound to seal a 2-1 win.

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