Neither the Netherlands nor Ghana looked particularly impressive on Saturday, but thanks to a defensive mistake in the fifth minute, the Dutch earned a 1-0 victory in Rotterdam. Robin van Persie scored the goal early, and after a couple more close calls involving Arjen Robben, the Dutch seemed content to just coast to the finish line.
It took just four and half minutes for the Netherlands to get on the scoreboard, slicing apart the Ghana defense on their way to an easy tap-in from van Persie. Robben helped create the danger, making a lovely pass through to Wesley Sneijder on the left side of the box. Sneijder centered to van Persie who took advantage of a failure by a Ghana defender to deal with the ball and tapped it into the net.
Robben missed a chance of his own a few minutes later, blowing a wide open chance in the center of the Ghana box when he mishit the ball, sailing over the crossbar.
After that, neither side seemed particularly interested in doing much more than running the clock out. The Dutch definitely are the better side in terms of chances and possession, but it was hardly an inspired effort for either World Cup bound team.
The only other bit of news was an injury suffered by Jerry Akaminko in the second half stoppage time. The defender came down awkwardly, folding his ankle underneath his body weight, and was taken off via a stretcher.
Netherlands: Cillessen, Blind, Martins Indi, Vlaar, De Vrij, Janmaat, De Jong, De Guzman, Sneijder (Lens 82′), van Persie (Depay 74′), Robben
Goals: van Persie (5′)
Ghana: Kwarasey, Inkoom, Akaminko (Mensah 94′), Sumaila, Schlupp (Afful 69′), Rabiu (A. Ayew 63′), Essien (Acquah 45′), Asamoah, Adomah, Atsu (Boateng 45′), J. Ayew (Waris 56′)
The Dutch will face Wales on Wednesday in their final World Cup tuneup, while Ghana will face South Korea on June 9. After that, it’s time for the World Cup. The Dutch are in Group B, which also features Spain, Chile and Australia, while Ghana is in Group G with the United States, Germany and Portugal.
In other words, it’s a “Group of Death” for both countries.