Saturday, July 03, 2010

Netherlands 2 d Brazil 1, World Cup Quarter Final

Brazil took a few minutes to get into their front half, but for the next forty they looked so dominant, their odds to take the Cup would have shortened even further. When Robinho netted twice in two minutes (the first was disallowed for offside) you would have been forgiven for popping down to the all-night TAB and putting your house on them to win the whole shebang. As it was they were only 1-0 up at half-time, but looked certainties. Maicon was running the show on the right, Robinho on the left and nothing was working for the Netherlands in the middle. Their only target up front was Robben, and each time he got it he looked like he wanted to beat five men rather than even consider a pass. Just before half time the Dutch keeper Stekelenberg made a miracle save, floating through the air to bat away a delightful curler from Kaka which was homing in on the top corner.

After half time things were turned on their head when Julio Cesar the Brazil keeper came out for a high ball, didn't get it, and it came off his defender Juan and into the net. That made things much more lively. Brazil were still looking pretty silky, and Netherlands were still looking shaky, but at least we were promised a game. Then the unthinkable - Robben took a corner, Dirk Kuyt flicked it on, and Wes Sneijder got enough scalp on it to put it in the net, then ran around slapping it (his scalp) for some minutes.

Cue mad scramble, desperate lunging, confusion and mayhem. I think from memory a Brazilian was straight red-carded for a tackle? Hell, it was 2am, I don't know, I seem to remember Brazil trying to throw men forward and almost giving up another goal as they were one man down. The Netherlands actually looked really impotent up front to me, and their semi opponents, (if you don't want to know yet look away now ... OK?) Uruguay, will have been heartened by what they saw.

Final whistle, 2-1. Favourites out.

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