Dutch to face Uruguay as Brazil, Ghana go down

2010-07-03 08:11

Holland and Uruguay will clash for a World Cup final place after

Brazil and Ghana saw their African dreams shattered on a day of quarter-final

heartbreakers.

Wesley Sneijder was the star for the Dutch and Felipe Melo the

Brazilian villain as Netherlands came from behind to edge five-time champions

Brazil 2-1 in Port Elizabeth.

Sneijder delivered the cross that Melo headed into his own net on

53 minutes and the midfielder was given time and space in a packed goalmouth to

head the winner a quarter of an hour later.

Juventus midfielder Melo, whose long pass down the centre allowed

Robinho to give Brazil an early lead, was later sent off for stamping on Arjen

Robben.

Brazil forced a series of late corners but could not grab the goal

that would have taken the first last-eight clash of the weekend to extra time

and Netherlands will now face Uruguay next Tuesday in Cape Town.

Uruguay reached their first semi-final in 40 years after needing a

penalty shoot-out to beat Ghana, who were bidding to become the first African

team to reach the last four.

But Ghana were left to regret a last-minute extra-time penalty miss

by Asamoah Gyan, whose spot-kick crashed off the crossbar.

Brazil coach Dunga confirmed after his side’s defeat that his

four-year reign was over.

“We are all responsible for this situation but I have the greatest

responsibility,” Dunga said. “We are all extremely saddened, we did not expect

this.”

For Sneijder, the man of the match, his winning strike was his

third goal of the finals.

“This was my first header. I don’t think it will happen again, but

it was great. The ball slipped on my bald head and went into the net,” said the

Inter Milan star.

Success for the Dutch was particularly sweet as they came off

second best against Brazil twice in the knockout phase of the World Cup, losing

a 1994 quarter-final 3-2 and a semi-final on penalties four years later.

At Soccer City in Johannesburg, Uruguay reached their first

semi-final since 1970 after a pulsating 4-2 penalty shootout win over

Ghana.

Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved skipper John Mensah and

Dominic Adiyah’s attempts after the quarter-final had been locked at 1-1 after

extra time.

Ghana could have won the match in the last minute of extra-time but

leading scorer Gyan sent a penalty crashing off the crossbar after Luis Suarez

had been sent off for deliberate handball on the goal-line.

“I am very emotional. We didn’t play well, but we have gone

through,” said Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez.

Ghana were bidding to become the first African team to win through

to the semi-finals of the World Cup after Cameroon (1990) and Senegal (2002) had

fallen in the last eight.

The Ghanaians scored first through Sulley Muntari two minutes into

first-half stoppage time before Diego Forlan equalised with a brilliant free

kick in the 55th minute.

“All I can say is this is football,” Ghana’s Serbian coach Milovan

Rajevac said.

“It was a very difficult game for us because in the previous game

we also played for 120 minutes and in the end we had the historic opportunity to

reach the semi-final and we had the penalty.”

Today, Argentina will face Germany while European champions Spain

tackle Paraguay.

The winners of those ties will meet in the second semi-final in

Durban on Wednesday.


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