Tag: Netherlands

World Cup 2010: Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands

At times they looked like making heavy weather of it, particularly in the last couple of minutes of stoppage time. Indeed, for the first twenty minutes of the second half it looked as if both teams playing in this World Cup semi-final were going to sleepwalk their way into extra-time, but eventually the Netherlands out-muscled Uruguay to book themselves a place in the World Cup final for the first time since disco was in vogue. The question now is whether they will be set up for a Central European derby match against their biggest rivals, Germany, or a match against the World Cup semi-final debutants, Spain. Uruguay, of course, had used up much the goodwill that might had been issued in their direction with their antics against Ghana in the quarter-finals.  This, however, doesn’t undo the level of their achievement in getting this far. It was their biggest match in six decades, and the question that they may now be asking themselves is one of why they didn’t push harder with twenty minutes to play, because when they did give it everything out of desperation in the closing minutes of the game, this apparently functional Dutch defence suddenly (and, considering the circumstances, understandably) looked flustered. The Netherlands struggled over the line in a match that they could have won by three or four clear goals. It was that sort...

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Brazil Undone By Dutch Pragmatism

Never meet your heroes, they say. It is possible that a lot of people met theirs yesterday in the form of the 2010 version of the Brazilian national football team. A team that was widely-tipped to win the competition is out at the quarter-final stage for the second time in a row, and it seems unlikely that many people will actually miss them that much. On more or less any other day of the tournament – of any tournament – this would have been big, big news. Events in Port Elizabeth were overshadowed by what was to follow in the evening, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth having a quick look at how they managed to get things wrong. They hadn’t been firing on all cylinders in their previous matches, but the assumption was that they had plenty more in the tank. They had showed their brilliance sporadically, but there were indicators that not all was not right in the Brazilian camp in their previous performances. The laboured win against a North Korea side that showed something of their true colours in conceding ten goals against Portugal and the Ivory Coast, a lifeless goalless draw against Portugal in their final match – the clues were there. Perhaps we were choosing to not see them. What we can say for certain is that they needed to raise their...

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World Cup 2010: Netherlands 2-1 Brazil

Into the quarter-finals then, and now it starts getting serious.This was the first clash between two teams with serious winning credentials – or at least, Brazil’s pedigree was beyond dispute. Maybe there were still some doubts about the Netherlands, coming into this game, for all their long unbeaten run and their hundred percent records both in qualifying and in the group phases. It still remained to be seen how they’d fare against top class opposititon. And to be honest, for all that they won this extraodinary match, I’m still not entirely sure. The game was turned on its head by a series of critical Brazilian errors in the second half, in a game they looked to have well in control, and they’ll go home wondering quite how it happened.

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World Cup 2010: Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia

FIFA have changed the stage at which they will discount previous bookings, from the final group game, to the end of the quarter final. On the face of it, it’s a great idea, and sadly too late to prevent Louis Saha (2006), Michael Ballack (2002), Alessandro Costacurta (1994), Sergio Batista, Claudio Cannigia and Julio Olarticoechea (1990) from appearing in their respective World Cup finals, however there is a side effect. Whereas since 1994, there were times when individuals players needed to be careful at certain times, a team accumulating bookings in the group stages now need to be careful in the Round of 16 and the Quarter Finals. While it hasn’t reached the “heights” of 1990, where Cameroon had four players suspended for their Quarter Final game against England, and Argentina started the Semi Final against Italy with eight starters, and both playing substitues (as well as the unused Robert Nestor Sensini) on a yellow card, there is potential for a team to be wiped out by a fussy referee, This was one of those games, as twelve players started the game a booking away from being suspended for a game, and Spanish referee Alberto Undiano has certainly been card happy in his debut game – issuing nine yellow cards (two of which to Miroslav Klose) in the Germany-Serbia match. Vladmir Weiss opened up an opportunity for Erik Jendrisek,...

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World Cup 2010: Cameroon 1-2 Netherlands

The entertainment and excitement is due to be elsewhere this evening. The Netherlands against Cameroon sounds, at a distance, as if it should be a match of colour and flair, but Cameroon are already out and the Netherlands are already through, and this year’s Netherlands team has been perfunctory rather than exciting so far. Bert Van Marwijk’s team is built to pick up results with the minimum of fuss, but it has seemed unlikely to set the world alight in the way that the Dutch team that reached two successive World Cup finals during the 1970s did. So far. To anyone watching from England, that a team should be criticised when it has two wins from two matches at the World Cup finals may seem extraordinary, but Van Marwijk’s side has been criticised for not playing with enough flair. This sort of criticism is the legacy of that great team. The Dutch press requires results and flair this summer, but can this team fulfil their demands? Cameroon, meanwhile, are on a rotten run of form. Picked by some as the strongest of the African qualifiers, they were hopelessly out of sorts against Japan in their opening match but could perhaps count themselves unlucky to lose to possibly the goal of the tournament so far from Denmark’s Dennis Rommedahl last Saturday evening – a match in which they took an...

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