WORLD CUP: Holland battle past Uruguay to book final berth
Holland made it to the finals of the World Cup with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Uruguay who will feel a slight injustice over the scoreline URU: 2 HOL: 3
Venue: Green Point Stadium, Cape Town Crowd: 62,479 Officials Referee: Ravshan IRMATOV (UZB) Yellow cards:URU - Pereira, Caceres HOL - Sneijder, Boulahrouz, Van Bommel
Red cards: none MATCH REPORT Holland have made it through to their first World Cup final appearance since 1978 and have now gone 25 games unbeaten. To have reached the finals without playing particularly well could be a good sign as Uruguay pushed them all the way and ensured a nervy last couple of minutes when they pulled a goal back.
The Dutch took the lead with a fabulous goal through captain, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, only for Diego Forlan to level before the break with an equally stunning effort.
With the game evenly poised Holland scored twice in three second half minutes, the first of which enjoyed a touch of fortune. Wesley Sneijder's snap shot on 69 minutes took a slight deflection, and with Robin van Persie standing in a slightly offside position blocking keeper Nestor Muslera's view, the goal was allowed to stand.
Uruguay had won the first ever World Cup and it seemed there was no way back for them as Holland began to impose themselves unlike the previous 70 minutes.
Uruguay had started the brighter so Van Bronckhorst's 18th minute screamer from out on the left was a surprise. But instead of building on this the Dutch allowed Los Charruas back into the game and just before the break Forlan's dipping, swerving shot from distance deceived Maarten Stekelenburg.
Those two goals in almost as many minutes stunned the South Americans but as injury time began a well worked free kick ended with Maxi Pereira firing home a low shot.
A couple of goalmouth scrambles later the final whistle went and Holland had almost stumbled into the finals. The Uruguayan bench rushed onto the pitch as their frustrations threatened to boil over in a series of ugly confrontations with officials and Dutch players.
Holland have never won the World Cup but if they continue to enjoy their current run of good fortune this just might be their year. Starting Line-Ups
1. Nestor Fernando Muslera 16. Victorio Maxi Pereira 3. Diego Godin 6. Mauricio Victorino 22. Martin Caceres 15. Diego Perez 5. Walter Gargano 17. Egidio Arevalo Rios 11. Alvaro Pereira (Abreu, 78) 7. Edinson Cavani 10. Diego Forlan (Fernandez, 83) SUBS
12. Juan Castillo (GK) 2. Diego Lugano 8. Sebastian Eguren 13. Sebastian Abreu 18. Nacho Gonzalez 19. Andres Scotti 20. Alvaro Fernandez 21. Sebastian Fernandez 23. Martin Silva (GK) HOL
1. Maarten Stekelenburg 12. Khalid Boulahrouz 3. Johnny Heitinga 4. Joris Mathijsen 5. Giovanni Van Bronckhorst 6. Mark Van Bommel 14. Demy De Zeeuw (Van der Vaart, 46) 11. Arjen Robben (Elia, 89) 10. Wesley Sneijder 7. Dirk Kuyt 9. Robin van Persie
16. Michel Vorm (GK) 13. Andre Ooijer 15. Edson Braafheid 17. Eljero Elia 18. Stijn Schaars 19. Ryan Babel 20. Ibrahim Afellay 21. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 23. Rafael Van der Vaart 22. Sander Boschker (GK)