The Netherlands sensationally dumped Brazil out the World Cup on Friday with a thrilling 2-1 victory over the tournament favorite. It was a game of two starkly different halves, with Brazil dominating the first period and then losing the plot in the second as they conceded two soft goals.
The game was no classic, however, as both teams struggled to produce moments of magic. They were not helped by a whistle happy-referee who blew 40 fouls.
Brazil had the first chance to score when, in the 8th minute, Robinho knocked the ball into the net after a nice exchange of passes. However, the goal was correctly chalked off for offside.
The goal opener came soon after and it couldn’t have been simpler. Gathering the ball inside the center circle, midfielder Felipe Melo launched a delicious pass through a gaping hole in the Dutch back for Robinho to sweep it into the net under goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
It was straightforward and perfectly executed. Brazil continued to fire away. Defender Juan sent the ball over after an enticing cross from Dani Alves in the 25th minute. A moment later, Kaka forced Stekelenburg into one of the saves of the tournament when the goalkeeper acrobatically got his fingertips to a curling shot that was headed for the top right hand corner of the net.
Holland gains control on Brazil's own-goal
The second half got off to an explosive start when Holland grabbed an unexpected equalizer. Eight minutes of the second period had elapsed when Sneijder launched a hopeful free kick into the box. Brazilians Felipe Melo and goalkeeper Julio Cesar both went for it. The previously imposing Julio Cesar flapped at the ball, missing it completely and it scraped off the top of Melo’s head and into the net.
The goal rattled Brazil and they lost some poise, the lead, and eventually the plot. Holland scored again midway through the second half and it came from one of the set pieces that Brazil previously had defended so well.
Robben fired in a corner to the near post for Kuyt to head into the six-yard box, where man of the match Sneijder was waiting to nod it home. Not one Brazilian defender rose to meet either header.
Six minutes later, as if things couldn't get worse for Brazil, the match was effectively ended when Felipe Melo was sensationally sent off with a red card in the 73rd minute for stamping on Robben.
Brazil's Robinho was fortunate not to be sent off a minute later for screaming at Robben, who had gone down after being fouled. Kaka, too, was lucky to escape without even a warning after he lashed out at Ooijer.
Brazil pushed for an equalizer as the game went on, leaving spaces at the back. But neither team could grab another goal.
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