FLYING DUTCHMAN clip BRA(resilience)
Wesley Sneijder headed a second-half winner as Netherlands battled
back from a goal down to beat ten-man Brazil 2-1 on Friday and secure a
place in the World Cup semi-finals.
Brazil, the five-times champions, took a 10th minute lead through
Robinho and dominated the first-half against a Dutch team which
initially looked outclassed.
But the Dutch levelled out of the blue in the 53rd minute after a
rare mistake from Brazil’s usually impenetrable defence, as Felipe Melo
headed Sneijder’s cross into his own goal.
Then Sneijder headed a winner as the Dutch, battling to their 13th
successive World Cup win to maintain a perfect record in the qualifiers
and finals, avenged a quarter-final defeat in 1994 and a semi-final
defeat four years later.
“In the changing-room at half-time, everyone said to each other
‘let’s give everything’ and that’s what we did. We fought for each
other,” Sneijder told a television reporter after the match.
“In the second half, we put a lot of pressure on their defence and to
score twice was fantastic.”
He added: “We’re in the last four of the world. To beat Brazil 2-1 in
the quarter-final, you have to be pleased with that. But in the next
days, we will have to get our heads in focus again.”
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said the comeback showed how mentally
strong his team were.
“In the first 20 minutes, I was happy that the score was only 1-0,
and I told Frank (assistant Frank de Boer) that we still have a chance.
In the second half we showed how good we are,” he said.
“Tonight we’re going to party and then start and fight again.”
Brazil were left shocked by the defeat.“We are all extremely sad and
we didn’t expect it. We were not able to maintain the same rhythm in the
second half,” Brazil’s coach Dunga told a post-match news conference.
“It’s not the end of the world,” goalkeeper Julio Cesar told a TV
reporter as a tear rolled down his face.
“I just think now we have to leave with our heads held high. In
Brazil people always put a lot of pressure on us. This was a result no
one expected. Every game Brazil enters, we enter to win.”
Brazil had started brightly with Felipe Melo, returning from an ankle
injury which kept him out of the second round match against Chile,
setting up the first goal after 10 minutes of the clash at the Nelson
Mandela Bay Stadium.
He threaded a 30-metre pass through the Dutch midfield and Robinho
timed his run perfectly to score with a first-time shot past Maarten
The game turned niggly, although Brazil managed to produced a some
flowing moves and should have extended their lead.
Juan volleyed over from close range after a jinking run on the right
by Dani Alves and Stekelenburg produced a superb one-handed save to tip
away Kaka’s curling effort, following a dazzling Robinho run down the
Just before halftime, Maicon fired into the side-netting after Luis
Fabiano rolled the ball into his path.
The Dutch rarely threatened with Arjen Robben far too predictable to
outfox the Brazil rearguard.
But they levelled out of the blue eight minutes after the break when
Felipe Melo touched Sneijder’s looping cross-shot into his own net.
Kaka missed an excellent chance to put Brazil back ahead,
side-footing wide from the edge of the area after the ball was gifted to
him by a poor clearance.
They paid dearly in the 68th minute when Dirk Kuyt flicked on Arjen
Robben’s corner at the near post and Sneijder headed into the net.
Shortly afterwards, Felipe Melo was sent off for stamping on Robben.
“If you play with only 10 players against a quality team like Holland
then it makes it difficult,” Dunga said. Reuters