But coach Bert van Marwijk started the Bayern Munich winger here and he repaid his faith by scoring a textbook goal in the 18th minute against a side that roundly failed in their bid to repeat their giant-killing 3-2 group win over defending champions Italy.
Robben latched onto an excellent long ball from Sneijder, cut back in past the retreating Jan Durica and Radoslav Zabavnik, and drilled a left-footed shot in at the near post past the despairing dive of Jan Mucha.
The fact the scoreline was kept to a respectable margin fell in large part to Mucha, who produced three excellent saves in the second-half prior to Sneijder's goal.
Robin van Persie had an excellent chance in the eighth minute, his header from a Kuyt cross just ricocheting off Zabavnik for a corner.
Mucha was on hand to make two great saves in a matter of minutes early in the second period, firstly parrying a Robben cutback and drive, and then brilliantly fending off a close-range Gregory van der Wiel stab.
Having spent the first hour not having made a save of note, Stekelenburg produced two fine efforts in quick succession to keep out efforts from Miroslav Stoch and Vittek.
Kuyt went close with a header from a Sneijder free-kick and then forced Mucha into a good save with a low 25-yard shot.
Source: AFP Global Edition