Ahmad Ali

reliable source of wise counsel

SF 1 : Netherlands vs Uruguay

So the first semi-final of World Cup 2010 between Holland and Uruguay got underway. Uruguay were the better starter although they had to make do without a couple of first team regulars Suarez and Fucile who were suspended. They settled down quickly and got hold of the midfield although they were much narrower than Netherlands.

Forlan saw plenty of the ball and Cavani, his strike partner for the game, made a lot of incisive runs. Alas they were caught offside 3 times although I think they were clear. Then again, we had the luxury of replays.

Netherlands were more wide with Kuyt on the left and Robben on the right. All ball goes through Snider who will spread the ball wide.

On the 17th minute 35 yrs old Giovanni Van Bronckhost, the captain for Holland, playing in his 105th cap for Netherlands scored a scorcher of goal for Netherlands. What a stunning goal. It was his first World Cup goal. A blistering left footed strike that flew into the corner of the goal beating the outstretch arms of the keeper.

It was 10th goal for Netherlands and only 4 conceded. This is a good start as Uruguay will have to come out more in numbers to find an equaliser. Holland are back to falling to the ground easily.  Uruguay should had a penalty when it was clear that van Bronckhost used his arm to stop Cavani in the penalty box.

Cavani had another chance in the 34min when the ball fortuitously ricochet to him. He had beat 2 players and insisted on taking another 3 when a good quick cross would have been better.

On the 40th minute, Forlan got the ball, sidestep a defender and hit a thunderous left foot that swerved and sailed over the Dutch keeper Sketelenburg. The Jabulani ball did its trick once again by swerving in the last minute to fool the keeper.

Second Half
The second half started a little laborious. Chances were few and far between although there was excellent movement by both team. Forlan came close from a free kick but was parried away by the Dutch keeper.

In the 70min, Sneider received the ball on the let of the penalty box and hit a right footer that ricochet off a couple of defenders and passed the outstretch arms of the Uruguain keeper. In the 73min, Robben ran into the penalty box to meet a cross from Dirk Kuyt and scored Netherlands third for the night.

Uruguay are getting tired. Sometimes they were trying to do too much on their own when they could have the ball forward faster. The Dutch had plenty of chances to counter attack but were unable to capitalise.

A freekick conceded by van Bommel saw a good trick where Uruguay scored to make it a nail biting finish at 2-3. The Uruguay went on to find the equaliser to bring the match into extra-time but were very unlucky with a few bounce in the penalty box. On the 95th minute, the referee blew the final whistle and so Netherlands are through to the World Cup Final 2010.

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