A wonder-goal by Dutch captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst inspired Netherlands to their third World Cup final appearance. But this time, they have a genuine chance of actually winning it for once.
Before the match, Netherlands were once again the favourites due to the array of talent they had on show. In stark contrast, Diego Forlan carried the hopes of all of Uruguay and without his partner in crime, Luis Suarez, it was going to be a tough ask for Forlan.
But once again, Netherlands played very unattractive football and didn’t look like scoring. It had to take a screamer from van Bronckhorst to break the deadlock and it was the break which the Dutch desperately needed otherwise the semi-final would have turned into a boring, dull encounter.
However, van Bronckhorst’s screamer was matched by Forlan who was slowly turning into a national hero of Uruguay. His left-footed shot curled so much that Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg could only parry the ball into the roof of the net.
And once again, Uruguay took the initiative and started dominating the play. But once again, Netherlands score out of nothing. Sneijder took his goal tally to five with a deflected shot which rolled harmlessly past Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera and gave the Dutch the lead. It was the lucky break which Netherlands required and received.
The Netherlands win was secured when Robben scored his second of the tournament with a header from a well-perfected Dirk Kuyt cross. Again, this goal was not coming and was arguably against the run of play. The Uruguayans made it a nervy finish when Maxi Pereira slotted in a well-placed shot before a barrage of crosses were put into the Dutch penalty area in hope for a very late injury time goal. However, nothing came of it, and the Dutch celebrated a historic achievement when they reached the final of a competition which they have never won in their illustrious history.
With players like Sneijder, Robben and Kuyt within their ranks, the Dutch have every possibility of winning the World Cup which iconic Dutch players such as Johann Cruyff have never done in their career. But, in order to play the “Total Football” style which Cruyff blessed the Netherlands era with, Robin van Persie needs to be more clinical in his finishing and Mark van Bommel needs to be less cynical with his tackles which has somehow made him un-bookable and brings out the ugly side of the Dutch.