Will the two time champions make the finals for the first time in 60 years or will the Netherlands reach their third World Cup final.
Uruguay - (1-1) Netherlands
Goals: 0-1 Giovanni van Bronckhorst (18'), 1-1 Diego Forlan (41'), 1-2 Wesley Sneijder (70'), 1-3 Arjen Robben (73'), 2-3 Maxi Pereira (90+2').
The Netherlands overcame a difficult Uruguay to book their ticket for the finals. The Dutch won 3-2 at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town after a tough fight against Uruguay.
It was a first half which was full of tactics and ball control as Uruguay played their usual game putting often up to eight men behind the ball as the Dutch looked for openings to create chances. And their creative players Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were often marked by two, three Uruguayan players which didn't help the cause of the Oranjes, while Uruguay hoped for counter attacks and banked on the brilliance of their stand-in captain Diego Forlan. But the Dutch had the first chance of the match in the 4th minute as a Wesley Sneijder cross wasn't well cleared by keeper Fernando Muslera and Dirk Kuyt' 14 metre shot just went over the goal. And in the 18th minute suddenly the Dutch were ahead. Their seasoned captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst took a long range attempt from over 37 metres away from the left with his left foot which beat Muslera's outstretched hands. The match didn't change much thereafter, but Diego Forlan to get the equaliser in the 41st minute for Uruguay once more through his individual brilliance. Forlan got the ball in midfield and goes through the Netherlands half before taking a long range shot which goes into the goal over keeper Martin Stekelenburg. The first session ended one-all.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk decided to risk more in the second session by taking off defensive midfielder Demy de Zeeuw and bringing on Rafael van der Vaart. But the match continued with its slow pace with the game mostly confined to the midfield with the Dutch having more of the ball. Uruguay had the first real chance of the session in the 67th minute through a Forlan free kick, which is just about cleared by Stekelenburg. But then the Dutch decided the game in less then 180 seconds. In the 70th minute Wesley Sneijder received the ball on the left inside the box and curled the ball into the other corner of the goal, but Robin van Persie was offside and distracted the keeper Muslera. This went unnoticed for the match officials. And in the 73rd minute the Netherlands sealed their victory as a Dirk Kuyt cross from the left was headed in by Arjen Robben. Uruguay was beaten, but reduced the deficit in the second minute of injury time through Maxi Pereira. Suddenly the Dutch looked nervous for the last couple of minutes, but they hung on and went through.