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On course

Van Bommel and Co through to last sixteen

Mark van Bommel and his Netherlands team-mates are the first team definitely through to the last sixteen at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. A 62,010 crowd at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban saw the men in orange beat Japan 1-0 to record their second win in two Group E fixtures. Inter Milan schemer Wesley Sneijder struck the only goal of the game after 53 minutes. Denmark's 2-1 victory over Cameroon in the evening means the Dutch can finish no lower than second in the group, whatever the outcome of their third game.

Following their opening match victory over Denmark, Bert van Marwijk's men are top of the section on a maximum six points, with three goals for and none against. "We went out there determined to win. Japan were very defensive, we'd actually expected them to come at us," van Bommel commented afterwards. "It was all about remaining patient, and then we had a bit of luck with the goal," continued the FCB captain after a narrow but ultimately deserved victory. Van Bommel and Co complete their group programme next Thursday against Cameroon in Cape Town.

Arjen Robben followed Saturday's match from the dugout, but the winger could be in line for a first World Cup run-out in the clash with Cameroon, who are already out of the tournament. The Bayern man, who pulled a hamstring in a pre-tournament friendly two weeks ago, completed a full training session for the first time since the injury on Friday.

Backing for Demichelis

Meanwhile, the Argentina camp has been reflecting over the solitary blemish in their impressive 4-1 defeat of Korea Republic last Thursday, Martin Demichelis' individual error which led to the Koreans' goal just before half-time. Immediately after the final whistle, coach Diego Maradona consoled the Bayern man with an on-pitch embrace.

"The hug from Diego at the end was a great personal relief," Micho revealed to Argentine daily La Nacion on Friday. Demichelis accepted he would be criticised by "40 million Argentines" because of the mistake, "but at half-time, I was supported by all 22 players and the coach," the defender continued. Lionel Messi said Demichelis had simply not heard his team-mates' warning shouts due to the ceaseless drone of the vuvuzelas in the stadium, an opinion shared by skipper Javier Mascherano: "It wasn't his fault."