The Netherlands became the first European team to earn six points from its first two games at this year’s World Cup, beating Japan 1-0 Saturday but still not displaying the kind of fluid football that fans are waiting for.
Wesley Sneijder scored the only goal in the 53rd minute as the Dutch finally broke down a stubborn Japanese defense in Durban.
“Why do we focus on good football instead of winning?” Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said. “Let me assure you that we really, really want to win and if we can do that in style then great. But you have to be able to win ugly games.”
Japan’s stifling defense worked well against a Dutch team that has been expected to play an exciting brand at football at the tournament in South Africa. But Robin van Persie dropped a ball back to Sneijder, who sent a powerful shot past Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.
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