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Played
July 7, 2010 12:00 AM IST
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Referee:‬ Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan)‎
 
Top of the Match
Mark van Bommel
Mark van Bommel
Netherlands
Wesley Sneijder
Wesley Sneijder
Netherlands
Flop of the Match
Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani
Uruguay
Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani
Uruguay

World Cup 2010: Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands - Dutch Destroyers Wesley Sneijder And Arjen Robben Seal Place In The Final With Second-Half Strikes

Oranje come out on top & will meet either Germany or Spain...

By Stephen Crawford

FIFA World Cup 2010 -Uruguay vs Netherlands, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (Getty Images)
At full-time in Cape Town, the first of two semi-final clashes has ended 3-2 to the Netherlands. Gio van Bronckhorst's early long-ranger was cancelled out just before half-time by a similar effort from Uruguay's hero Diego Forlan. Second half goals from Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and a late strike from Maxi Pereira made for a truly enthralling encounter.

The South Americans were, of course, without the services of hand-ball hero/villain Luis Suarez and left-back Jorge Fucile through suspension. Nicolas Lodeiro would also miss out after injuring his foot against Ghana, while a knock picked up against Ghana meant Diego Lugano wouldn't start. The Dutch had to play without right-back Gregory van der Wiel and holding midfielder Nigel de Jong.

The first chance came after Wesley Sneijder swung the ball into the box, having picked it up after Arjen Robben's first attempt came off of Martin Caceres. Muslera's punch wasn't convincing, and the ball landed at the feet of Dirk Kuyt, about 15 yards from the back post. The Liverpool forward took a touch and struck straight for goal, but his shot sailed over the bar.

Both sides enjoyed some of the ball in the first 15 minutes, but it was certainly the Dutch who looked the more dangerous side with it. While Uruguay were adjudged to be offside on a few occasions and trying a couple shots from distance, pressure from the Oranje was causing the Celeste to look a little uncertain in their defending.

And the pressure would pay off. Sneijder passed the ball to his skipper, Gio van Brockhorst, who was skipping up from left-back. Who knows what possessed the captain to have a pop from 30-odd yards, but his sweetly struck shot drifted beautifully past Muslera, smacking off the inside of the woodwork before eventually ending up in the top corner of the Uruguayan goal. Holland had the advantage.

Caceres then became the villain just before the half-hour mark. His dangerous acrobatics on the edge of the area saw his boot come of the face of Demy de Zeeuw as he tried an audacious overhead kick. The Barca-owned full-back was shown a yellow card by the Uzbekistanian referee for dangerous play while de Zeeuw sent a search party out for his teeth.

Edinson Cavani, who was failing to really get himself into the game, found himself with the ball deep inside the Dutch box. The Palermo forward held onto the ball far too long, leaving an unmarked Alvaro Pereira fuming in the centre. Pereira was afforded a second chance through with just over five minutes left in the first half, but his tame shot was aimed straight at Stekelenberg.

Just as it looked as though the South Americans were destined for a plane home, none other than Diego Forlan stepped up to produce another little piece of Celeste magic. The Uruguayan talisman found the ball in a central position, at a similar distance to van Bronckhorst's goal – and the outcome was the same. Beating Skekelenburg, the stinging shot shook the top corner of the net and Oscar Tabarez's men found themselves back in the game just before half time.

Probably a little worse for wear, Demy de Zeeuw was hooked at half time and replaced by a more attacking figure in Real Madrid's Rafael van der Vaart. Immediately the Dutch made it clear that they wanted an early second-half goal as they shot down the left. Some tense build-up would come to an abrupt end, though, as the linesman's flag rose for offside.

The Netherlands were soon to suffer a scare of there own, however, as a pass played in for Cavani prompted Stekelenburg to run out and meet the ball. The Ajax 'keeper misjudged the distance though, and Cavani was able to chip the ball over the goalie before hitting the ground from the challenge. Pereira was there to lap up the loose ball and strike towards goal, but van Bronckhorst added to his heroic reputation by heading the ball away from the otherwise empty goal.

There was certainly no clear winner in terms of game dictation midway through the second half. Pressure from Uruguay won a free kick in a similar position to where Forlan buried a dead ball against Ghana. The set-piece forced a wonderful save from Stekelenburg though, who was all to happy to receive the praises of his teammates. At the other end, Holland were carving out plenty of chances of their own.

It was only a matter of time before one of the sides took one of their many chances, and it was Wesley Sneijder who did so for the Dutch as he has done so often already. A strike from outside of the box seemed too fast for anyone to do anything about, and the ball rocketed low and hard into the bottom right corner of Muslera's goal. There was a hint of controversy though as van Persie, who did swipe at the ball in vain, seemed to be in an offside position. The linesman let it stand though, and the Dutch went ahead again.

Just minutes later the Oranje struck again. A well worked piece of play saw Dirk Kuyt stretch the South American defence as he took off down the left. A perfectly weighted cross met the head of an onrushing Robben, whose simple nod was enough to put the ball past Muslera once more and take the score to 3-1.

In a game that really looked like it could have gone either way before the third goal was scored, the cushion of a brace truly handed the reins of the game over to the Dutch. They began to see the final few minutes of the game out in an incredibly relaxed fashion, and with the talismanic Forlan being subbed off for Sebastian Abreu, the match was all but over for their opponents.

In the first minute of an added three, Maxi Pereira clawed one back for the Celeste. Belting the ball goalwards after a Uruguayan free-kick hung around the box, the Benfica defender's left-footed shot went past Stekelenburg and into the Dutch goalkeeper's net. It was not enough for the South Americans though, as the referee blew the whistle for full-time soon afterwards, allowing the Netherlands safe passage into the 2010 World Cup final.

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Uruguay

25
0.00
14
Maxi Pereira
Defender
21′ 91′
0.00
2
Diego Godín
Defender
0.00
4
0.00
4
M. Victorino
Defender
0.00
15
Diego Pérez
Midfielder
0.00
20
E. Arévalo
Midfielder
0.00
5
Walter Gargano
Midfielder
0.00
11
Á. Pereira
Midfielder
78′
0.00
9
0.00
10
Diego Forlán
Striker
40′ 85′
0.00

Netherlands

2.50
1
0.00
21
0.00
4
0.00
-
0.00
17
0.00
20
Demy de Zeeuw
Midfielder
46′
0.00
10
0.00
10
0.00
11
Dirk Kuyt
Striker
0.00
20

Substitutes

-
J. Castillo
Goalkeeper
0.00
1
M. Silva
Goalkeeper
0.00
19
A. Scotti
Defender
0.00
5
S. Eguren
Midfielder
0.00
24
I. González
Midfielder
0.00
13
0.00
2
0.00
20
Á. Fernández
Midfielder
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
1
Michel Vorm
Goalkeeper
0.00
1
0.00
13
0.00
5
0.00
8
Stijn Schaars
Midfielder
0.00
19
0.00
-
Ryan Babel
Striker
0.00
25
0.00
23
0.00
11

Coach/Manager

-
0.00

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
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