Netherlands reach World Cup final

07:48, July 07, 2010      

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Wesley Sneijder (R) of the Netherlands celebrates with Dirk Kuyt after the 2010 World Cup semi-final soccer match against Uruguay in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 6, 2010. The Netherlands won 3:2 and is qualified for the final. (Xinhua/Chen Haitong)
Two late goals in three minutes sent the Netherlands through hard hitting Uruguay into the World Cup final on Tuesday.

Wesley Sneijder's deadlock breaker and Robben Arjen's header secured the twice runners-up's 3-2 victory over two-time champions.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst opened scoring for the Oranje in the 18th minute with a 35-meter shot and Diego Forlan replied for the only South American survivors in the semifinals, with a curling strike from 30 meters out at the 41st minute.

The Dutch cracked a warning shot at the third minute following great work by Arjen Robben. The Bayern Munich winger dribbled down the right before he crossed to Wesley Sneijder, whose goal-bound volley was pushed out, by Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera, into the path of Dirk Kuyt. The Liverpook forward failed to keep his shot down.

Uruguay's defence looked a little shaky when Sneijder smashed his shot from 20 meters out on his own teammate Robin van Persie, sparing Fernando Muslera from having to make a save.

The Netherlands passed from right to left before Giovanni van Bronckhorst took the ball. When it looked he would dribble in deeper, the Ferenoord defender suddenly launched a left-foot cannon shot, which flicked the fingertips of Muslera and hit the inside of the post before deflecting into the top corner.

An accident happened at half hour mark when Martin Caceres tried an overhead kick on the edge of the Dutch box and he struck Demy de Zeeuw right in the face.

In the ensuing melee, Sneijder put his hand around Caceres' head and Caceres theatrically fell to the ground. Sneijder and Caceres were both booked.

Uruguay wasted a good chance in the 36th minute when Edinson Cavani broke into the box but sticked to the ball too long when Alvaro Pereira was well placed.

With first half ticking away, Forlan shook off Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen and curled a left-footed shot that Maarten Stekelenburg got a hand to but could not stop it.

Uruguay was a better team in the first 20 minutes of second half which saw Forlan forced a diving save from Stekelenburg with a 28-meter free kick.

But it was the Dutch who broke the deadlock when Sneijder collected the ball inside the penalty area, cut inside and unleashed a low shot, which deflected into the bottom corner at the 70th minute.

Three minutes later, Kuyt delivered the ball into the box from the left and Robben headed it down to the bottom corner to put the Dutch 3-1 up.

Uruguay defender Maximiliano Pereira netted a consolation goal two minutes into stoppage time as he latched onto a quick free kick, cut inside and curled it around the outstretched arms of Stekelenburg and into the bottom corner.

Germany and Spain will vie for the other final berth in Durban on Wednesday.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said Spain "play the best football" in the world and Germany are "the best team" of 32 World Cup participants.

"We are a small country, but not a small football country," he said. "We don't have the best players but we have one of the best teams."

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez praised his side as "satisfactory".

"It was very satisfactory except the result," he said. "We know where we stand in the world and we had managed to play on an equal footing with the Netherlands," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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Special Report: World Cup 2010


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