World Cup 2010 - Dutch down Brazil to reach semis

Fri, 02 Jul 17:23:00 2010

The Netherlands came from behind to beat 10-man Brazil 2-1 in the first World Cup quarter-final at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth.

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Robinho gave Brazil a 10th minute lead but a Felipe Melo own goal eight minutes after the break levelled proceedings.

A Wesley Sneijder header after 68 minutes proved to be the winner with Felipe Melo dismissed five minutes later.

The Netherlands' only previous World Cup victory over Brazil was in 1974 when they went on to reach the final and they will be confident of a repeat with Uruguay or Ghana waiting in the semi-final.

But they went behind early on as Felipe Melo cut open a static Dutch defence with a through ball and Robinho swept the shot home first-time.

It was the first goal the Dutch had conceded in opening play in the finals and Bert van Marwijk's side, who lost centre-half Joris Mathijsen to an injury in the warm-up, were carved open and could have been further behind in the opening period.

Dani Alves' cross found Juan who should have scored but he lifted his shot over the bar from eight yards while Kaka's curler looked destined for the top corner before Maarten Stekelenburg produced a flying save to claw the 20-yard effort away.

On the stroke of half-time, Stekelenburg denied buccaneering right-back Maicon, pushing a swerving shot behind as the Inter man galloped forward in the style of Carlos Alberto from the 1970 final.

But the Oranje improved after the break and were gifted an equaliser after an uncharacteristic blunder from Brazil keeper Julio Cesar.

Sneijder's cross from the right was completely missed by the Inter keeper who collided with Felipe Melo and the ball nestled in the corner. The ball flicked off the head of the Juventus midfielder who was awarded with the own goal.

Brazil looked to respond as a drive from Dani Alves drifted just past the post and a poor clearance from Mathijsen's replacement Andre Ooijer saw the ball sit up nicely for Kaka who looked to steer the ball into the far corner from 20 yards only to see it fall agonisingly wide.

But the Netherlands had won all of their eight international matches in 2010 and they took the lead when a near post corner was flicked on by Dirk Kuyt and Sneijder, one of the smallest players on the pitch, guided his header into the back of the net from close range.

Somehow Sneijder managed to peel off his marker, Felipe Melo, in the six-yard box and his miserable day was compounded when he was sent off for a disgraceful stamp on Robben.

Brazil were down a man but chased for an equaliser with Lucio's volley deflected behind for another corner and Kaka surging into the area only for Ooijer to get back and make a crucial sliding tackle.

Dani Alves prayed just before he attempted a late free-kick but it struck the top of the wall as Brazil exited in the quarter-finals for the second successive finals while the Dutch, who are on a record 24-match unbeaten record, can look forward to a semi-final in Cape Town on Tuesday although they will be without the suspended Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel.

Match Facts

Netherlands v Brazil

Goals 2-1

1st Half Goals 0-1

Shots on Target 4-4

Shots off Target 3-7

Blocked Shots 4-4

Corners 4-8

Fouls 19-19

Offsides 3-3

Yellow Cards 4-1

Red Cards 0-1

Passing Success 78.3%-78.8%

Tackles 19-14

Tackles Success 52.6%-50%

Possession 49.2%-50.8%

Territorial Advantage 51%-49%

Lee Walker / Eurosport

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