The Uruguayans Go Home, A Game Too Late

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The Uruguayans Go Home, A Game Too Late.
The Dutch were favourites in their game against Uruguay in Cape Town for two reasons: their strict organization and supreme individual talent.
Uruguay and their mastermind orchestrator Diego Forlan were out to make history by reaching the World Cup semi finals after a very long time since their last time reaching this stage. To accomplish this, they needed to find a way past a talented Dutch squad who have been on a winning rampage comparable to the 1970 Brazil World Cup winners.
A few changes were made to the squad due to the suspensions of Van der Wiel and Nigel de Jong, and in came Khalid Boulharouz and De Zeuuw to replace them. For Uruguay, they were missing Luis Suarez who was sitting out because of his involvement in the making of ‘Hand of God- II’.
Uruguay started pushing up from the beginning and looked to threaten the Dutch on the counter attack which has rewarded them on so many occasions. Even though the Netherlands looked assured in possession, they could not bring their main attackers Sneijder and Robben into the game early on against a quick settling Uruguay midfield.
It was the same with Uruguay, who in spite of winning the ball back numerous times, gave it away with unforced errors and failed to carve out any openings in the initial stages. Dirk Kuyt had a glorious opportunity to score but he failed to keep his shot down.
Something special was needed to bring the match to life and up stepped 35-year-old captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst. A fluid movement in the middle of the park led to him entering the attacking half from his left back position and then without warning, he launched a bazooka from his left foot from all of 40 yards out which banged in off the frame of the goal and went into the net. Special? No, this was extra special!
The player will be retiring at the end of the World Cup from international football and this will be the icing on the cake if the Dutch happen to lift the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
The match was finally open to goal scoring after 18 minutes and it was now up to the Uruguayans to make something happen.
Diego Forlan was kept quiet by Bronckhorst and Mathiejsen but it was time for him to again show why he is considered one of the best strikers in Europe. A little space was afforded to him in the middle of the park and the Dutch must have been warned about his intelligence in creating area to shoot.
They failed to close him down and he switched to his left foot and let loose a scorching shot which went in off the helpless palm of Stekelenburg. If Giovanni can do it, why not Diego?
In the second half, it was a completely different Uruguay who came onto the field and the major difference was how they started defending from the front. Even though the score remained 1-1 till 70 minutes, both teams must have sensed that there were goals to be had in the game.
Robben was now brought into play more often and Sneijder started controlling the whole Dutch attack. With De Zeuuw taking a whack in the face in the first half, he was replaced by the creative Van der Vaart who provided a lot of support to the strikers.
One such opportunity sprung up when Kuyt and Van der Vaart linked up and the latter found himself one on one with the keeper only to see his shot saved. The rebound did fall to an incoming Robben but he should have passed it in to a waiting Sneijder instead of launching it into the sky.
The Netherlands knew it was time to score and they increased the pressure with Van Persie holding off opponents cleverly to bring the talented midfield into play.
Sneijder found space to squeeze in a shot and it deflected into the net, deflating any hopes the Uruguayans had of progressing into the finals. Two minutes later a floating cross from an impressive Kuyt found Robben and he angled a lovely header into the bottom corner of the net to book a place in the finals of the World Cup.
The South Americans are known for their stubbornness and it was Maxi Parreira who brought the game very close to extra time by curling a shot off a pass from a free-kick. But it was too late for the sky-blues as they will now be seen again in action for the 3rd place play off. For the Dutch, they have to wait and watch as to who will face them at Soccer City out of Germany and Spain. By the way, the seats at Soccer City are already orange!



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