Japan lacked composure in front of goal


The first half was disappointing as Netherlands failed to exploit their possession and mustered only three shots with midfielder Rafael van der Vaart's late effort the only one to test Kawashima in the Japan goal.

The Dutch came out firing after the break and Robin Van Persie had already wasted two chances before he seized on a loose ball in the penalty area.

With the Japanese defence closing him down, Van Persie slipped the ball to Sneijder on the edge of the box and the playmaker slammed his shot into the net off the keeper.

"What you need is a bit of luck," said Sneijder. "And we ended up at 1-0 and I think, at the end of the match, we should have ended up with 2-0 or 3-0."

His goal forced Japan to come even further out of their defensive shell but they lacked composure in front of goal despite some impressive approach play.

Image: The Netherlands's Rafael van der Vaart (left) and Japan's Yuichi Komano (centre) get into a tangle as they vie for possession