Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dutch demolishes Brazil dreams

14:00 GMT, July 2, 2010
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

2 - 1

Wesley Sneijder dumped favourites Brazil out of the World Cup as Netherlands finally got the better of their South American nemesis.

But they had to come from behind to avenge their heartbreaking pdefeats of 1994 and 1998 and book their place in the semi-finals.
Robinho, who had already had an effort ruled out for offside, fired the Brazilians ahead with just ten minutes gone, and the Dutch struggled to cope during the opening 45 minutes.

But Felipe Melo's 53rd-minute own goal gave them fresh impetus and Sneijder won it 22 minutes from time as Melo was dismissed for stamping on Arjen Robben.

However, Netherlands will have to do without both full-back Gregory van der Wiel and midfielder Nigel de Jong for Tuesday's semi-final in Cape Town after both collected second bookings.

Scoring Summary

Felipe Melo (og 53')Robinho (10')
Wesley Sneijder (68')

Man of the Match: Wesley Sneijder


  • Man of the Match: Wesley Sneijder - Over the past 12 months ample evidence has been provided that the Inter Milan Treble-winner is more than capable of determining the outcome of a game, and in Port Elizabeth he once again proved decisive. It was Sneijder's cross into the box that Felipe Melo headed past his own goalkeeper and Sneijder who edged Netherlands in front with a clinical header. He outshone his opposite number in the No. 10 shirt, Kaka, with ease.

  • Netherlands verdict: Yet again, Bert van Marwijk's side were unable to produce a dominant performance but they continue to grind out results, and who would bet against them having eliminated many observers' favourites for the tournament? Much like Brazil, Netherlands have eschewed their traditions of brilliant football and instead have produced a robust, well-drilled and determined side. It might not be Total Football, but it is total vindication for Van Marwijk's approach in this World Cup. They may rue the loss of Gregory van der Wiel and Nigel de Jong for the semi-finals due to suspension though.

  • Brazil verdict: Dunga's men looked to be on course for the semi-finals when Robinho scored after ten minutes but despite that early promise and some neat passing moves, they played within themselves in Port Elizabeth. An uncharacteristic defensive error allowed Netherlands to equalise and from then on, Brazil imploded. Poor marking allowed Sneijder to head home and when Felipe Melo was shown a deserved card for a horrible stamp on Arjen Robben, their fall from grace was complete. Defeat in this manner will surely ensure Dunga is savaged by a hostile press. A campaign that promised so much ends prematurely.

  • Could do better: Felipe Melo - It started so well when his perfect through-ball released Robinho for the opening goal, but the Juventus midfielder had a nightmare of a second half. Twenty minutes after heading the ball into his own net, Melo blatantly and petulantly stamped on Robben to earn a red card. He should hang his head in shame.

  • Stat attack: This is the first time since 1954 that Brazil has had two red cards in one tournament.

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