Holland storm into 3rd World Cup final
A pair of wonder strikes from Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Diego Forlan in the first half and two other goals from Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, catapulted Holland to a 3-2 semifinal win over Uruguay and a dream place in the final of the World Cup on Sunday.
From 1974 to 1978, they were acclaimed the best attacking team in the world but they always ran out of luck in the World to win the cup.
Veteran Dutch defender van Bronckhorst got the breakthrough on 18 minutes with a stunning 35-yard strike before Forlan did exactly the same on 40 minutes against the run of play.
At stake for both teams is football’s biggest prize, with either Germany or Spain awaiting them in the Johannesburg final on July 11.
Both teams were forced to make changes with players suspended and in chilly conditions at Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium it was the Dutch who adapted the best.
The dangerous pair created another opportunity soon after when Kuyt sent in a cross that the Bayern Munich star headed at the keeper.
With the pressure on, it was only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken and it was their hugely-experienced captain who did it with a contender for goal of the tournament.
The 35-year-old picked up the ball some 35-yards out and let rip with a stunning drive that tore into the top corner of the net past the outstretched fingertips of Muslera.
Uruguay were struggling to create openings before Forlan drew then level against the run of play with a left-foot drive that swerved past Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
Uruguay’s Pereira reduced the tally to 3-2 in the dying minutes to set up a nervy ending to the game.
This would be the third time that Holland would be reaching the finals of the World Cup, after previously making the final in 1974 and 1978. On both occasions, they lost to Germany and Argentina, respectively. It was the era of Johan Cryuff, when the Dutch were acclaimed for the total brand of football.
They await the winner of today’s second semifinal showdown, featuring Germany and Spain.