Sibon Keeps Dutch Olympic Dream Alive

Netherlands 1-0 Japan

The Dutch needed a win to qualify to the next round, but Japan did their best to bring them down. Oranje needed a Gerald Sibon spot kick to seal the deal.

Japan are already eliminated after two losses, while Holland have been unable to impress with two draws. As a result of the results so far Holland needed to win today’s match by two goals to make sure of qualification.

Foppe de Haan made some changes in his line-up after the USA match. Jong-a-Pin, Sibon and Makaay replaced Zuiverloon, Bakkal and Beerens and Holland changed to a 3-4-3 system. Japan start in a 4-4-2 formation and also brought in some fresh faces.

First Half

With the pressure off, the Japanese started the match with attacking intentions. However, after a few minutes the Dutch showed some attacking flair and Ryan Babel was able to get on the ball.

Tricky winger Urby Emanuelson, too, was an early threat, but Jong-a-Pin is brought down after a cutting pass. Japan were clearly not going to gift Oranje the points.

A couple of minutes later Japan got forward for the first time. Attacker Toyoda is tried his luck with a nice shot, but aimed too high.

It took Holland a full half-hour to produce their first flowing attack. Maduro had the ball after a nice counter-attack, but the Valencia player screwed wide.

The Japanese also came close to scoring the opener ten minutes before halftime. Babel almost deflected a corner-kick past his own goalkeeper and was relieved not to do so.

Gerald Sibon, who was last Sunday’s hero for Oranje, was hardly involved in the match, but showed his class in the last minute pf the half. Nevertheless, his bicycle kick deflected off the back of a Japanese defender and bounced past the post.

Second Half

No changes were made by either side at the interval. The first chance of the second half fell to The Netherlands, but De Guzman’s free kick was saved by the Japanese goalie.

Nishikawa, though, never stood a chance against Drenthe’s wicked free-kick five minutes later. However, the post denied Oranje on this occasion.

After a disappointing start to the match, both teams were able to create more chances in the second half as space started to appear.

Japan took the initiative and the Dutch were having problems with the energetic Asians. Toyoda fired a shot at the Dutch goal once more, but Vermeer made a fine save.

Japan came even closer to the opener on the hour mark, but Morishige saw his attempt bounce off the post.

Then, the Netherlands were gifted a golden opportunity. Babel was brought down by Honda and the referee immediately awarded the penalty. Striker Gerald Sibon stepped up to finally break the deadlock by lashing home.

Five minutes from time, Makaay had the chance to decide the match after a nice cross by Emanuelson. However, the experienced striker couldn't find the target.

Injury time was a tense time - it usually is when Holland are playing. Vermeer had to be on his best as Japan had a late goalmouth flurry.

Thus, the narrow win for The Netherlands was enough to help them qualify for the next round, because of the Nigerian win against USA. However, the quarterfinal won’t be easy for Oranje. Reigning Olympic champions Argentine are waiting for them!
Netherlands 1-0 Japan
1-0 Sibon ‘74

Netherlands: Vermeer (gk), Jong-a-Pin, Marcellis, Jaliens, Emanuelson, De Guzman (Pieters/90), Maduro (Bakkal/61), Drenthe, Sibon (Zuiverloon/75), Makaay, Babel

Japan: Nishikawa (gk), Morishige, Mizumoto, Yoshida, Nagatomo, Hosogai, Honda (Morimoto/80), Taniguchi (Kagawa/80), Kajiyama, Toyoda, Okazaki (Lee/86)

Referee: Baldassi (Argentine)

Yellow Cards: Sibon, Jaliens, De Guzman (Netherlands), Okazaki (Japan).

Sibon scored the only penalty goal to give Netherlands (Holland) a 1-0 victory over Japan in Men’s Olympic Football today.

73′ 1-0 G. Sibon (Penalty)

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Sibon Keeps Dutch Olympic Dream Alive Reviewed by admin Ucop on 5:00 PM Rating: 5

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