Sneijder strikes for Dutch


Wesley Sneijder was on target as Netherlands beat Japan 1-0 in a Group E clash on Saturday to put themselves on the brink of reaching the World Cup second round.

Sneijder's fine 53rd minute strike deceived Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima who misjudged the flight of the ball and could only deflect it into the back of the net.

However, the goal was reward for a much improved start to the second half by the unimpressive Dutch, who had been frustrated by the Japanese in a dull first period.

"Everyone could see Japan do not have a bad team and then you have to be very patient," said Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk. "We can do much better but with six (points) out of two (games) without conceding a goal you can't say you're not satisfied.

Image: Wesley Sneijder (right) celebrates his goal with teammate Rafael van der Vaart
Photographs: Reuters