Cape Town: Netherlands ousted Uruguay 3-2 in their clash in the semi-finals to book their place in the finals of the Fifa World Cup 2010, scheduled to be played in Johannesburg.
Geo vani Bronkchorst inspired the Dutch with a superb strike in the first-half but Forlan hit back for the Uruguayans with a goal towards the end of the first half. Then it was Sneijder and Robben who scored two goals in the space of 3 minutes to deflate the Uruguayans and help the Dutch come out victorious though Pereira did manage to score one late goal for the Uruguayans.
As expected it was the Dutch side who started brightly. Robin van Persie played a testing ball in the 4th minute, as Muslera tried to palm it away but his clearance just landed kindly for Kuyt who hit a shot but his effort was wide over the bar.
Kuyt for Holland was again in the picture in the 10th minute making a cross from the left to find Robben's header but his header was blocked by the defender.
The game was looking rather unsettled with both sides coming up with odd half chances until Giovanni Van Branckhorst thumped a marvelous goal in the 19th minute to take the Dutch on top. The 35-year-old captain hit a left-footed shot from way outside the penalty box to find the back of the net.
Around the 25 minutes mark the Netherlands were dominating possession and play and the South Americans were desperately trying to settle in trying to find the equalizer.
De Zeeuw got a painful blow right in his face as Caceres tried
for an overhead kick around the 28th minute. Caceres just managed
to find his face instead of the ball and was yellow-carded for
In the 32 minute the Dutch suffered a scare as the Uruguay players were appealing for penalty as Van Bronckhorst had seemed to have elbowed Cavani in the penalty box and taken him down as the ball was driven in from the left flank.
Just few minutes later, Uruguay came attacking with Cavani making a run in the penalty box, but he held the ball for rather too long instead of making an early ball, eventually losing the ball, cut short by the Dutch defense.
The Uruguayans at that period of play were coming along nicely and making those efforts but never really looked like scoring a goal as the strikers failed to find the final touch.
Forlan then hit a stunning shot to bring the South Americans
right back on track in the 41st minute. He mounted away from the
defense and hit a left-footed shot to find the back of the net.
Forlan in the process scored his fourth goal of the tournament.
Oozed with confidence the Uruguay side had another chance from the free kick just around the 44th minute taken by Forlan but his shot was easily collected by the goalkeeper.
Sneijder put a brilliant ball in the extra time period for Kuyt in the penalty box who made a run for the ball, but Kuyt was caught offside.
As the second half play resumed, Rafael Van Dar Vaart was brought in for the dutch side.
The Dutch again started off brightly, holding possession of the
ball and coming forward.
But it was Uruguay who came close first around the 54th minute as the Dutch made a defensive error and the goal keeper had to come forward.
Uruguay second favorites coming into the match was pushing hard and keeping the Netherlands defense on their toes, coming forward with Cavani and Forlan but they were unable to final move.
Around the hour mark it was like a cat and mouse game with neither side able to gain advantage.
Forlan around the 66th minute got a free-kick in a decent position, as he drove past the Dutch wall but his effort was denied by the goalkeeper.
Just moments later the dutch came close as Van Der Vaart hit a thunderous left-footer only to be denied brilliantly by the goalkeeper. The ball rebounded to Robben in the right side but he skied his shot over the bar.
However a little while later, Wesley Sneijder put the Dutch ahead as he drove in a low shot, deflected past the Uruguay defender to find the back of the nert. Sneijder, the man-in form made a superb turn and managed to find space froma tight spot to knock his shot past the goalkeeper. The goal was Sneijder's fourth goal of the campaign.
Moments later Arjen Robben headed past the goalkeeper in the space of three minutes, as Kuyt made a perfect cross in from the left flank to put the Dutch in a commanding position.
With fifteen minutes left to play, the Uruguayan side was surely deflated as they tried to fight back into the game.
Robben came close again in the 82nd minute as he made a dangerous break in the penalty box, but the Uruguay defenders managed to clear the ball before Robben could cause more damage.
Then Robben yet again had a golden opportunity in the 87th minute but he couldn't make use of his advantage as he failed to find the final touch.
Uruguay managed to pull a late goal in the extra time as
Maximiliano Periera scored a left-footer from just outside the
penalty box after the Uruguayans had won a free-kick and the ball
was driven to him.
There was late drama as the referee stretched the game for almost 5 minutes instead of scheduled 3 minutes as Uruguay kept on looking for the equalizer. Van Bommel was yellow-carded for time wasting for the Dutch side.
This win will give the Dutch their first World Cup finals appearance since 1978. They will face either Spain or Germany in the finals.