Netherlands, having failed to qualify in 2002 and only reached the second round in 2006, were looking to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1998. Standing in their way were Brazil who beat them in that semi-final of France ’98. Brazil and Netherlands were in good form heading into the tournament and both teams reached this stage comfortably by winning their groups and second round matches.
Brazil started the better of the two sides and Robinho had a goal disallowed before Felipe Melo threaded a ball through the middle of the Dutch midfield and defence for Robinho to finish. Brazil had chances to go further ahead but a mix of poor finishing and good goalkeeping denied them.
Early on in the second half the Netherlands are pressing for an equaliser and Wesley Sneijder gets the ball 25 yards from goal…
What Happened Next?
The goal completely changed the game and Sneijder took advantage of poor marking from a flicked Robben corner to head home his and his team’s second. Brazil tried to respond but Melo received his marching orders for a stupid stamp on Robben and Netherlands hung on to meet Uruguay in the semi-finals. They beat Uruguay 3-2 but lost in extra-time to an Andrés Iniesta goal in the final.