'Final Scoreboard': Netherlands in the Cup Final, Await Germany-Spain Winner
For the third time in its soccer history, the Dutch are headed to the World Cup final.
Midfielder Arjen Robben scored the decisive goal on a fantastic header in the 72nd minute only three minutes after fellow midfielder Wesley Sneijder put his side ahead three minutes prior with a tricky left footed shot outside the box as the Netherlands defeated Uruguay 3-2 in Cape Town to ensure an all-European World Cup final.
For the Dutch, it will be their first time that they since they lost in 1978 to Argentina. They also lost 1974 final to West Germany. Uruguay, winners of the first World Cup in 1930, was seeking for their first final in 60 years and will play in Saturday's third-place game in Port Elizabeth against the Germany-Spain loser. They guarantee their best result since finishing in fourth place in 1970.
Dutch captain Giovanni Van Bronckhorst opened the scoring in the 18th minute by firing a brilliant shot from 30 yards that beat Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslerato to the far post and into the net. Diego Forlan continued his exceptional play in this Cup, placing a well-struck left-footer off the hand of Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg and into the goal to make things even at the half. Both teams got good shots on goal in the second half. Then Sneijder, who was the hero with two goals in the Dutch's upset of Brazil, struck again with a left-footed shot that deflected off of defender Maximiliano Pereira leg and rolled past Muslera for the lead. Robben's slick header off of a great cross from Dirk Kuyt gave the Dutch the cushion they needed for in the 72nd minute. Pereira closed the gap to a single score with a goal in injury-time, but Uruguay could not muster any more magic for the remaining four minutes.
Uruguay had six shots on goal opposed to the Netherlands' seven. The possession was pretty even during the match with the Dutch having a 53%-47% advantage. The Dutch have now won 10 straight and are on a 25-match unbeaten streak heading into Sunday's final at Soccer City in Johannesburg.
By: Brian Cox