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Oranje Send Brazil Packing
The Netherland's Wesley Sneijder (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game
The Netherlands sensationally upset tournament favourites Brazil in their 2010 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday afternoon, defeating the five-time world champions 2-1.
The South Americans seemed to be well in control of the match after an early Robinho goal had put them ahead, but some slack defending in the second half and a red card for Felipe Melo saw the Oranje score twice without reply to claim a famous victory that sees them into the semifinals, where they will face either Uruguay or Ghana.
The Dutch made a late change to their line-up, with first choice central defender Joris Mathijsen pulling up injured in the warm-up and being replaced by experienced campaigner Andre Ooijer.
The late replacement was at fault for Brazil’s tenth minute opener, playing Robinho onside as the forward latched onto Felipe Melo’s pass straight through the heart of the Netherlands’ defence.
Brazil’s no.11 easily swept the ball past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg to hand the South Americans the perfect start to the quarterfinal.
Holland looked for a quick reply, with Dirk Kuyt firing in a shot from a tight angle just a minute after Brazil had taken the lead, but goal minder Julio Cesar turned the ball round his near post for a corner kick.
Brazil nearly doubled their lead in the 25th minute, with Juan shooting over from just outside the six-yard box after a short corner routine from Dani Alves.
Six minutes later a storming run down the left flank from Robinho allowed Kaka a shooting chance from just outside the penalty area but the midfielder’s goal-bound shot was superbly tipped wide by Stekelenburg.
The Dutch ‘keeper made another good save right on the stroke of half time, deflecting Maicon’s low drive wide of his near post, though the match officials strangely signaled for a goal kick when it should have been a corner.
The Netherlands pulled level almost out of nowhere in the 53rd minute, with Wesley Sneijder’s hopeful cross flicking off the head of Felipe Melo and finding the back of the Brazilian net; Julio Cesar was also partly to blame, as he came off his line but didn’t manage to claim the ball.
On 61 minutes Dani Alves had a sight of goal from just outside the Holland penalty area but pulled his shot wide of goal and it was soon the turn of Kaka to try his luck with a measured volley that flashed just the wrong side of Stekelenburg’s left hand post.
By this stage the Netherlands had grown significantly in confidence and they duly took the lead midway through the second half, with Sneijder netting his third goal of the tournament.
An Arjen Robben corner kick was flicked on at the near post by Kuyt and then glanced home by an unmarked Sneijder in the middle of the penalty area.
Brazil’s hopes of a comeback were dealt a major blow when midfielder Felipe Melo was deservedly shown a straight red card for stamping on Robben in the 73rd minute.
The South Americans began to throw numbers forward in a desperate attempt to equalise and were nearly caught out at the back in the 84th minute, but Julio Cesar smothered Sneijder’s shot to keep his side’s hopes alive.
The final few minutes saw some frantic end-to-end play as Brazil threw everyone forward, handing the Dutch several opportunities to close out the game with a third, but in the end there was no further addition to the score line.