In 1974 I was so enthralled by Holland’s football I painted my Subbuteo team in their colours, but despite their sublime skills then and in 1978 they never became World Champions, Maybe now things may change. Most of San Telmo in Los Cristianos, Tenerife was invaded by the colourful Dutch army again tonight and they will be back for more.
Uruguay 2, Holland 3
You expect some class in the World Cup semis and it shone through in this game with two well matched sides having to work hard to beat well drilled defences. Sneijder was first to catch the eye, breaking down the right and drilling in a firm cross, Uruguay keeper Muslera punched at it and knocked the ball onto Kuyt who put it over the bar. Kuyt set up Robben a few minutes later but he was blocked out at the post. Uruguay were missing the suspended Suarez but had other threats, Cavani did well on the left flank but his pass found Forlan offside. The Dutch turned back the clock to the shoot on sight sides of 1974 and 1978 as captain Van Bronkhorst hit a stonking long range goal after 17 minutes that brushed the goalies fingers.
It got a bit lively on the half hour when Uruguays Caceres made an ambitious scissor kick that caught De Zeeuw in the face. Sneijder ran over to discuss the error of his ways with him as he pushed him over and picked up a booking along with the instigator. Caceres didn’t let it ruffle him, making a strong and timely tackle on Robben in his penalty area. Cavani was coming more into the game for the South Americans but their main man levelled with a brilliant goal. Forlan picked up a long clearance 35 yards away from the blues goal and unleahed a howling curling shot that made a fool of Stekelenburg whose hand wasn’t enough to stop the goal.
Holland looked nervous at the start of the second half, Van Bronkhorst cleared off his goal line and they seemed vulnerable. Forlan was always a menace, his free kick had the keeper frantically beating the shot away. there was a touch of controversy about the Dutch goal that broke the deadlock, Sneijder curled his shot in as Van Persie stepped over the ball while trying to get back from a marginally offside position, a slight deflection from Pereira fooled the keeper and gave Holland the lead. There was no doubt about the third goal, Kuyt on the left put in a perfect cross to the head of Robben who nodded it into the net. Holland relaxed a little now but Uruguay made them sweat in injury time when Pereira cut in and stroked his shot around Kuyt and past the badly sighted Stekelenburg, but it was not enough to save the gallant Uruguay. Now where’s that little paintbrush and the tin of orange Humbrol.