Netherlands 2-1 Brazil: Wesley Sneijder Sends Oranje Into Semi-Finals

The Selecao picked up an early lead via Robinho, but Oranje fought back after the break to record a 2-1 win...

Brazil have been eliminated from the World Cup after being unable to defend an early lead against Netherlands. The Dutch came back after falling 1-0 behind at half-time 1-0 to record a 2-1 win and progress to the semi-finals.

The Netherlands sprung the first attack of the afternoon as Dirk Kuyt floated in a ball from the left in search of Robin Van Persie but there was no problem for the Brazil defence to smother this threat.

Brazil then appeared to open the score after only eight minutes of play when Luis Fabiano set up Robinho, who calmly slotted home. However, the linesman had his flag up and the goal was deservedly disallowed.

The Selecao then did pick up the lead in the 10th minute. Felipe Melo found Robinho with a superb pass through the centre of the pitch and the Santos star calmly placed the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg to make it 1-0 for Brazil.

Oranje immediately tried to level the score and came close via Dirk Kuyt. The Liverpool attacker cut inside from the right before unleashing a low shot, but Julio Cesar deflected it wide for a corner kick.

The South Americans continued to dominate play and could have doubled their lead halfway the first half. Dani Alves found Juan with a good cross from the right and the centre back didn't hesitate to unleash a powerful shot, which went only just over the bar.

Kaka then opted to test the Dutch goalie at the half hour mark with a placed shot from 20 yards out. Stekelenburg pulled off an excellent save to deny the Real Madrid star though.

The referee awarded Oranje a free kick in a dangerous position about ten minutes before the half-time whistle. Wesley Sneijder stepped up to take it, but his shot was too weak to trouble Julio Cesar.

Netherlands then did seem to trouble the Brazilian defence minutes before the interval after a good attack down the right via Wesley Sneijder and Gregory van der Wiel. However, the latter's cross as eventually cleared by the South Americans' defence.

Maicon then nearly made it two for Brazil in the dying seconds of the first half. However, his powerful shot after an impressive run down the right ended up in the side-netting.

Netherlands started the second half with attacking intentions and the Europeans levelled the score in the 50th minute. Wesley Sneijder sent in a dangerous cross from the right and midfielder Felipe Melo headed the ball in his own net after shot stopper Julio Cesar missed his clearance.

The Dutch only just escaped falling behind again after 65 minutes of play. Ooijer failed to clear a cross from the right, deflecting the ball into the path of Kaka. The attacking midfielder aimed his placed shot just wide of the Dutch goal though.

Oranje then somewhat surprisingly took the lead in the 67th minute. Robben sent in a great corner kick for Kuyt, who flicked the ball on for Sneijder and the unmarked Inter star headed home from close range.

Things went from bad to worse for the Selecao only minutes after the 2-1. Robben went past Felipe Melo and the Juventus midfielder cynically fouled the winger before kicking out at him again after the referee's whistle, leaving the ref no other option but to show Melo the red card.

Holland launched a breakaway about ten minutes before the final whistle after some good work from Sneijder. However, the final pass for Kuyt was just too hard and Julio Cesar picked up the loose ball.

Brazil then looked dangerous after a series of corner kicks with five more minutes to go, but an excellent goalline clearance from Kuyt prevented the equalizer.

Sneijder should have put the match to bed in the 84th minute after a quick counter attack. However, the tricky midfielder failed to beat the Brazilian goalie after being set up by Robin van Persie.

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