July 2nd, 2010
TRIUMPHANT! Netherlands players celebrate as they bounce world power Brazil for the World Cup in South Africa. (Photo: Jacobson/AP)
CAPE TOWN — The Dutch overcame a major obstacle in Brazil in their quest to reach the World Cup finals Friday.
The Netherlands came back from halftime deficit, rallying for two second-half goals en route to a stunning 2-1 triumph over the five-time world champions at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The Dutch, who have never won a championship. reached the semifinals for only the fourth time. They will take on the winner of the Uruguay-Ghana match, which will be played later today.
After winning the title in 2002, the Brazilians have been eliminated in the quarterfinals for two consecutive World Cups.
An own goal by Felipe Melo in the 53rd minute and a header by Wesley Sneider in the 68th minute sparked the Dutch to the historic win. Melo had to be the goat of the match for the South Americans as he was red-carded in the 73rd minute, forcing them to play a man down the rest of the match.
The equalizing goal was set up after defender Michel Bastos had just taken down Arjen Robben outside the right side of the penalty area.
On the ensuing free kick, Robben passed to Sneijder toward the right corner. Sneijder then returned the ball to Robben, who worked himself free to send a floating shot toward the net that should have been easily handled. As goalkeeper Julio Cesar went up for the ball, so did Melo, who obstructed his keeper from getting to the ball. The ball went off Melo’s head and sailed into the net.
Instead of resting on their laurels, the Dutch continued to attack and their persistence paid off in the 68th minute. This time Robben took a corner kick that Dirk Kuyt nodded to Sneijder, who headed home into the right side for a 2-1 Dutch advantage.
At one time Brazil did have control of the match.
Give Brazilian striker Robinho some credit. He certainly did not allow a nullified offside goal get to him early on.
Only two minutes after assistant referee Jeong Hae Sang of South Korea ruled that Brazil was offside on his goal, Robinho struck again in the 10th minute.
Melo sent Robinho a perfect through ball down the middle of the Dutch defense. An onrushing Robinho split John Heitinga and Arjen Robben and sent a 12-yard shot past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg for a 1-0 Brazilian lead.
The Brazilians were keen to double the lead as Kaka sent a 20-yard shot that was headed to the upper right corner in the 31st minute, but Stekelenburg managed to bat the ball out of bounds with a spectacular leaping save.
The Brazilians continued their meltdown as Melo was given his marching orders by Nishimura for a late tackle on Robben in the 73rd minute.
Source: NY Daily News
Filed under Quarter-Finals, World Cup 2010 | Comment (0)