Favourites Brazil shocked by Netherlands (Night lead)July 2nd, 2010 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS
Port Elizabeth, July 2 (DPA) A Wesley Sneijder-inspired the Netherlands beat 10-man Brazil 2-1 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth Friday to reach the World Cup football semifinals.
Sneijder now has three goals and is emerging as one of the players of the tournament. He headed the second half winner after a Felipe Melo own goal had cancelled out Robinho’s 10th minute opener.
Melo’s nightmare continued when he was sent-off for stamping on Arjen Robben as many people’s favourites to win the tournament lost their cool and crashed out.
It was the ninth straight win for the Netherlands who are unbeaten in 24 games and they now play their semi-final in Cape Town on Tuesday against either Uruguay or Ghana.
Man of the Match Sneijder hailed the incredible turnaround saying: “In the second half we knew we had to improve things and put more pressure on the Brazilian defence.
“If you get opportunities you have to take them and play as though it is the last 45 minutes of the whole tournament.”
The captains Lucio and Giovanni van Bronckhorst read out statements condemning all forms of discrimination before the start of the game in line with FIFA’s plan to step up its “Say no to racism” campaign in the four quarter-finals.
But after that harmonious prelude battle commenced and the game was bad tempered and niggly throughout.
The outstanding Robinho made a bright start and thought he had put Brazil ahead when he converted Dani Alves’ cross but the Barcelona player had been in an offside position before he supplied the assist.
Robinho had the ball in the net again on 10 minutes and this time there was no flag and Brazil were in front.
Melo played the pass of the World Cup through the middle of the Dutch defence. Robinho ran on to it, unmarked, and buried a low first-time shot past Maarten Stekelenburg in the Netherlands goal.
Defenders were nowhere to be seen as Robinho wandered through and it was Robben, of all people, trying to track the forward’s run.
The Dutch tried to respond immediately and Dirk Kuyt forced a corner with a shot that Julio Cesar had to turn around his right post.
The Netherlands should then have had defender John Heitinga sent off as he blatantly tripped Luis Fabiano to stop the defender running on to another defence-splitting pass. Heitinga was booked and Alves sent the free-kick wide.
Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura should then have booked Gilberto Silva after he up-ended Robben as the ill-feeling continued.
Sneijder was trying to inspire the Dutch but Brazil continued to look dangerous and Robinho crossed for Kaka whose curling shot was brilliantly tuned over by Stekelenburg.
Inter Milan midfielder Sneijder tested Julio Cesar with a free-kick from distance but Robben’s first-half nightmare continued.
He was kicked by Michael Bastos, who was booked, and then wasted the Netherland’s last attack of the half when he received the ball in space but ran into a crowd of defenders.
Maicon almost made it two before half-time with a shot into the side netting but the Netherlands came out revived in the second period and were level on 53 minutes.
Bastos was lucky to not pick up his second yellow for a foul on Robben and when the free-kick was pulled back to Sniejder his long floated ball into the box was completely misjudged by Julio Cesar going in off of the top of defender Melo’s head.
Kaka then shot wide for the five-times champions but it was now the Netherlands in the ascendancy and on 68 minutes they were ahead.
Sneijder was lucky not to be credited with the first goal and there was no doubt that the second was his.
Robben swung over the corner, Kuyt flicked the ball on at the near post and the Dutch hero headed in for his third goal of the tournament.
“It was my first headed goal and I don’t think it will happen again but it was great. It just slid on my bald head and went into the goal,” he said.
Melo then stamped on Robben and was a shown the red card as Brazil, who had targeted the Dutch winger throughout, completely lost their composure.
The 10-man tournament favourites pressed and after Stekelenburg made a complete mess of a Maicon corner Kuyt had to save his keeper with a diving clearance.
Kuyt could have calmed Dutch nerves at the other end but after going past Maicon and Lucio, he allowed Juan to get back and make the clearance. It did not matter as the Netherlands held on for a famous comeback and a well-deserved victory.
Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar was close to tears having seen how the five-times champions had let down their many fans inside the stadium.
He said: “Nobody expected this. We had so much confidence and we were united after three and a half years working towards one aim. The faith of the fans was strong. Now we have to pick ourselves up and try to go forward.”
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- Netherlands make winning start against Danes (Lead) - Jun 14, 2010
- Krohn-Dehli strikes as Denmark shocks Netherlands - Jun 10, 2012
- 10-man Brazil beaten by Netherlands - Jul 02, 2010
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- Iniesta goal gives Spain World Cup glory (Second Lead) - Jul 12, 2010
- Kaka sent off as Brazil beat Ivory Coast to go through (Lead) - Jun 21, 2010
- Samba drums fall silent as Dunga fails to answer Cryuff - Jul 03, 2010
- Spain beat Dutch to capture first World Cup title (Lead) - Jul 12, 2010
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Tags: cape town, discrimination, felipe melo, giovanni van, lucio, mandela bay, match, nelson mandela, netherlands night, nightmare, offside position, port elizabeth, prelude, quarter finals, racism campaign, robben, robinho, turnaround, wesley sneijder, world cup football