Day 22 saw the first
Forlan, 41, Pereira, 90+2
The Netherlands 3
Van Bronckhorst 18, Sneijder 70, Robben 73
The Netherlands reached the World Cup final for the third time in the country’s history, doing just enough to defeat Uruguay 3-2 in Cape Town.
Holland took the lead 18 minutes in, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst unleashing an unstoppable drive from the left channel that flew in off the far post.
In truth, Uruguay struggled in their pursuit of an equaliser. That was until the 41st minute when Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg failed to prevent Diego Forlan’s stinging left foot drive finding the net despite getting a firm hand to it.
The South Americans were nearly ahead just minutes after the break, an under hit back pass from Khalid Boulahrouz was almost pounced upon by striker Edison Cavani, who failed to nip it past the rushing Stekelenburg.
Holland went ahead once again with 20 minutes left on the clock, Wesley Sneijder’s deflected shot from the edge of the area spinning past Fernando Muslera and into the bottom corner.
With Uruguay rattled, the Dutch produced what looked to be a knockout blow just three minutes later, Arjen Robben rising to head home Dirk Kuyt’s cross and put his side on the brink of the World Cup final.
Uruguay, however, showed the fight and resilience that had saw them reach the semi-finals and set up a nervy finale in added time, Maxi Pereira curling a shot into the bottom corner having caught Holland napping at a free-kick.