The first of the two semi-finals at the 2010 World Cup went today. The Netherlands have never won a World Cup but seem to have an easy path to the finals. Uruguay have scraped through to the final four but they do have a winning pedigree at the World Cup. The winners of the first tournament are looking to add their third trophy to the national trophy cabinet having been shutout for the last 60 years.
Netherlands 3 vs. Uruguay 2 – The Dutch had a perfect campaign heading into this game, having not lost in the qualifications or tournament. Uruguay would be a threat to upset that, though. The high-flying Oranje would have to battle a team that’s only allowed 2 goals in 5 games. In the end, it would be the Flying Dutchmen who would find themselves 90 minutes from World Cup supremacy.
The Dutch didn’t seem willing to leave it to chance like Ghana did. Eighteen minutes in, captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst fired a 35-yard shot that saw its way by the keeper for one of the goals of the tournament. Uruguay’s captain Diego Forlan had his own long distance goal in the 40th minute when Oranje keeper Maarten Stekelenburg made a half-hearted attempt to stop it. The team’s would slow the pace for the next 30 minutes before the Dutch turned up the wick to finish it. Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben scored in the 70th and 73rd minutes, respectively, from in close to seal it for the Dutch. Maxi Pereira made it close for Uruguay in the 92nd minute but, with only a minute of injury time left, it was too little, too late.
The win means that Holland will go on to face either Germany or Spain in the final. They played nonchalantly for the better part of the game. They’ll have to play up-tempo to keep their opponents off balance. Interestingly, this final three means a European side is guaranteed to claim the continent’s first World Cup off European soil. As for Uruguay, World Cup #3 will have to wait at least four years but they can take solace in the fact that they went far farther than any expert would have predicted.
Man of the Match: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands) – 1 goal
Germany vs. Spain