Uruguay-Netherlands semifinal: Historic Holland win sets up an all-European final
The Men in Orange hung on in a thrilling 3-2 victory in the Uruguay-Netherlands semifinal. Now the stage is set for a European final, but will Holland face Spain or Germany?
Schalk van Zuydam/AP
Cape Town, South Africa
The Men in Orange overcame their South American opponents more comfortably than the score line suggested.
In truth this was a game too far for Uruguay who were reduced from a two-trick pony to a one-trick steed in the shape of captain Diego Forlan, after the red card of Luis Suarez in the quarterfinal clash against Ghana.
Playing in their traditional light blue and black shorts, they seemed overwhelmed by the occasion and the majority Dutch crowd among the more than 62,000 supporters.
It's been a while since so many white faces decked in orange could boast of their heritage in a South African stadium, but shout, sing, and blow their vuvuzelas they did.
They outnumbered their Uruguayan counterparts who took up pockets of seats within the Cape Town stadium.
Worryingly for FIFA, there were still stretches of seats vacant in the stunning stadium despite a chunk of tickets released for sale just hours before the game.
Where Holland stretched and jinxed, Uruguay were one dimensional. Where Holland attacked with speed and purpose, Uruguay were labored and predictable.
The South Americans will now fly off to Port Elizabeth to fight for third place while Holland and their army of orange followers will pick up camp and take flight to Johannesburg for the final, which will test their ability more than this encounter with Uruguay.
After the third goal went in and a comfortable gap was created, Dutch supporters sparked a party mood within the stadium prompting a conga in the lower tier with flags waving and hats flung. A forgiving police officer who had previously been strict on those standing, allowed the supporters their time in the aisles.
Although there were a few nervous moments towards the end, the Dutch fans seemed confident of their day in the high veld sun.
Dutch fan, Faas Meyer, 36, from Rotterdam, said after the match: "We played good football and we were too good for Uruguay. I hope we play the Germans in the final. They are a good team but we have enough to beat them."
His friend, Herold De Jong, said: "We have enjoyed Cape Town and now we go to Johannesburg. I think this is our year and with Robben playing as well as he is, we must win."
The Uruguayans raced out of the stadium, but acknowledged they had been beaten by a better side.
Martin Curbelo said he was proud of his brave team but they had been beaten by a superior team.
"Forlan has been a great player for Uruguay in this World Cup, but it was too much for him and too much for the team," he said. "I came from Uruguay to see my side, but we have been beaten and I accept that."
But while reaching the World Cup final, Holland will have to raise their game if they are to beat either Germany or Spain.
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