Holland v. Brazil: Live Report


A Dutch supporter wearing an orange bear outfit cheers on his team © AFP/File Liu Jin

A Dutch supporter wearing an orange bear outfit cheers on his team © AFP/File Liu Jin
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) – FAVOURITES BRAZIL ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP after Holland subjected them to a 2-1 defeat in their tempestuous quarter-final battle in Port Elizabeth.
It looked to be plain sailing for the Brazilians after Robinho put them 1-0 up at the break, but a goalkeeping howler by Julio Cesar and a header by Wesley Sneijder helped send the Dutch into the semi-finals where they will meet either Uruguay or Ghana.
The five-time winners completely lost the plot after the second goal with Felipe Melo getting a red card for a vicious stamp, while coach Dunga will be in for a torrid return after his defensive tactics backfired.
To see how the drama unfolded, read on.
– 1600 GMT: AFP’s Yana Marull is in a heartbroken Rio. “The game has completely lowered the spirits of the 50,000-strong crowd in Copacabana. The crowd is weepy and frustrated, heads are lowered and there is criticism for Felipe Melo, who was sent off, and manager Dunga,” she says.
British television shows footage of crying fans in the Brazilian capital. This is going to hurt.
1556 GMT: ITV and ex-England man Gareth Southgate sums it up. “They have 20 minutes of madness and the World Cup’s finished for them,” he says.
A profound insight into the Brazilian collapse from Kevin Keegan. “Anyone can sail the ship when it’s calm but when the sea got rough we found out they had no captains,” he says, sagely.
1552 GMT: There are few people I would rather be in this world right now than Dunga and Felipe Melo. The manager’s pragmatic approch crashed upon the rocks as soon as the Brazilians needed to chase the game.
Two soft goals and a sending-off completely demoralised the South Americans, and to see a Brazil team so lacking in ideas was quite something.
Felipe Melo’s mad moment will haunt him for the rest of his life, completely drawing the sting out of any Brazilian efforts to apply pressure.
The Dutch hung in there when it looked to be going with form at half-time, and capitalised on their good fortune with a fine second-half performance.
– 90+3 mins: FULL TIME! Holland 2 Brazil 1
90+2 mins: Free-kick for the Brazilians. It’s pumped into the area by Cesar but comes to nothing. Cesar is playing as a sweeper now.
90 mins: The Dutch waste a great chance to run down the clock. Three added minutes will be played.
89 mins: Relief for the men in orange, it’s straight into the wall.
88 mins: Brazil have offered nothing since going behind but Lucio wins a free-kick which will inspire dread in all Dutch hearts, 25 yards from goal.
– 86 mins: You really can’t over-emphasise how important this match is with a relatively kind semi-final againt Uruguay or Ghana in the offering. Both of those teams will be cheering on the Dutch, you imagine.
It opens up for Kuyt but i denied by a last-ditch tackle. The clock is ticking!
84 mins: Nearly the end for Brazil. Van Persie sets up Sneijder but his scuffed shot is saved.
Kaka bombs up the other end but his effort is deflected wide by Ooijer’s desperate lunge. This is great stuff, unless you are Dutch or Brazilian.
83 mins: It’s tense in Rio according to colleague Yana Marull. “Legendary player Ronaldo, said on Twitter: ‘It’s much worse to be watching the World Cup than playing in it. I never realised this when it was me playing. It’s so tense!!'”
– 81 mins: Lucio strikes a solid volley which is deflected wide for a corner. The set-piece curls past everyone and somehow bounces across the six-yard box.
The third corner in a row is gobbled up by Stekelenburg.
– 80 mins: Free-kick 30 yards out for Holland. Van Persie hits it light-years over the bar, but precious time is wasted.
78 mins: The ineffective Luis Fabiano is replaced by Nilmer.The character of this Brazil team is really on show and at the moment they seem more intent on niggling and fouling than remaining patient and incisive.
Huge gaps at the back for Holland as Brazil commit forward.
75 mins: OK then Holland, how’s your ticker? They will never get a better chance as Brazil have lost the plot after going behind.  Everyone was curious to see how this team reacted when the chips are down and we are finding out. What a last 15 minutes we have on offer.
– 73 mins: RED CARD! Felipe Melo is off for a horrific stamp on Sneijder. They are falling apart.
What a turn-around! Wesley Sneijder puts the Dutch in-front with a header after another cross causes pandemonium in the Brazil box.
Robben whipped in a corner, which was flicked on at the near post by Kuyt giving Sneijder, one of the smallest players on the pitch, an easy opportunity to head into the unguarded goal.
– 67 mins: GOAL! Holland 2 Brazil 1
– 66 mins: Brazil hit back and another Kaka curler worries the Dutch, but this time goes wide.
64 mins: YELLOW CARD! Nigel De Jong will also be absent from the next round if Holland triumph after pulling back Robinho.
It’s a totally different game now and van Persie is unlucky not to get the bounce of the ball when in the box.
– 61 mins: Alves tries to step it up but hits a long-range shot wide. Not surprisingly, Bastos, who is scared of breathing on Robben in case of a red card, is subbed for Gilverto Melo.
– 58 mins: I think Melo may get credited with an own-goal but it was going in anyway after a colossal mis-judgement by Cesar in the goal.
The Dutch will see it as justice as the goal came from a passage of play initiated by a bad Bastos foul, again on Robben. He had been booked and should’ve been off.
It’s really whipped the crowd into a frenzy and you can clearly hear the Dutch singing their version of Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.”
Game on as Wesley Sneijder claims the equaliser in calamitous circumstances. The midfielder arced a cross in form the right wing which Cesar and Melo both went for the ball but it skimmed off the midfielder’s head and into the corner.
– 53 mins: GOAL! Holland 1 Brazil 1
50 mins: This from my AFP colleague in Rio, Yana Marull. “Some 50,000 people have gathered on the beach in Copacabana to watch the games on giant screens. The end of the first half was greeted with shouts, applause and vuvuzelas,” she says.
“Commentator Falcao de Globo said Brazil played better, but missed a chance to score another goal in the first half. We are facing a nervous second half.”
– 48 mins: YELLOW CARD! Gregory Van Der Wiel will be out of the semi-final if Holland turn this around after picking up a deserved booking for a foul.
46 mins: Brazil get us restarted but Holland provide the first threat. Again Robben fails to capitalise but a bobble from the dodgy surface didn’t help him.
1452 GMT: Well, it was still more “Catenaccio” than “Joga Bonita” from the Brazilians but they are so comfortable at the moment that it’s difficult to find fault, although I’m sure their home journalists will.
In truth, the Brazilians haven’t really committed to all out style and attack since their glorious failure in 1982, and have paid just as much attention to defence ever since.
ITV man and former Republic of Ireland midfielder Andy Townsend doesn’t seem to fancy Holland’s chances. “It’s very difficult because the more you commit, that’s what Brazil want,” he wisely notices.
– 45+1 mins: HALF TIME!  Holland 0 Brazil 1
45 mins: Ah, Robben finally gets the ball with a vast expanse of grass to run into but he dawdles and is soon crowded out.
Straight up the other end, Maicon charges forward and hits an effort reminiscent of Carlos Alberto in the 1970 final. Except that it goes wide.
42 mins: On-cue, Kaka then beats three men before slipping in the marauding Bastos. His threatening cross is hacked clear.
Van Persie concedes a foul in a bad area as frustration begins to set in for the Dutch, but Kuyt clears well.
40 mins: Kaka draws a foul after beating Sneijder. The mercurial Real Madrid man has not been at his best for a year but he still plays a hugely important role in this team which has lost only one in 30
– 37 mins: Wesley Sneijeder has a crack from a 40-yard free-kick which is hard and on target but Cesar saves well.
Groundhog Day as Bastos comes through the back of Robben once again. This time the referee has no option but to book the Brazilian.
33 mins: Not that I’m advocating foul-play, but Holland really need the combative Mark van Bommel to stamp his presence on the game and make it a tougher ride for Brazil’s flair players.
Holland win a corner but try to play a sneaky “I’ve not really touched it” routine which fools no-one. When it backfires they pretend they haven’t touched it, very amusing.
30 mins: Brazil are looking irresistible going forward. Twinkling footwork from Robinho sets up Kaka and his curling shot from 25 yards out is saved superbly by Stekelenburg.
28 mins: The pulsing vuvuzelas are drowning out any Dutch singing as the europeans struggle to get a foothold in the game. On the pitch, Alves whips in a right-wing free-kick which Fabiano heads over despite being in 10-yards of space. He was quite a long way from goal, to be fair.
25 mins: Our first glimpse of Maicon as an attacking force brings a corner. The dead-ball bobbles around the area before Alves tees up Juan but the defender can’t keep his shot down from close-range.
23 mins: Robben is fouled again, and again by Bastos. He escapes a cation but gets a stern telling-off by the Japanese referee.
19 mins: Although it was a supremely clinical goal, the pre-match doubts about the Holland central defence proved to be valid. There was a huge space for Robinho to run into with no discernable defensive line.
Robben was the nearest man to Robinho when he shot from the edge of the box, demonstrating the defensive shambles which Brazil will fancy breaching again.
– 16 mins: Robben gets hacked down again, this time by Michel Bastos. He’s clearly been ear-marked for special attention. The free-kick, 35 yards out, is hit over the top by Robin van Persie.
13 mins: YELLOW CARD! Johnny Heitinga is in the book for a cynical off-the-ball trip on Luis Fabiano 40 yards from goal.
Alves hits the free-kick but pulls it wide.
11 mins: Dirk Kuyt tries to respond but Julio Cesar is down quickly to turn the ball out for a corner.
– 10 mins: GOAL! Holland 0 Brazil 1
Brutally simple from the Brazilians. Filipe Melo shows he is not just a spolier, threading a superb stright ball through the middle wich Robinho connects with first time to give Maarten Stekelenburg in the Dutch goal.
– 8 mins: Dani Alves surges down the left wing but is just offside. A very late flag, I think the linesman was waiting until he touched the ball.
6 mins: Brazil burst into life with some slick passing but Andre Ooijer shows that his concentration levels are good despite his last-minute call-up as he clears the danger.
– 5 mins: There are a few vuvuzela blasts from the crowd but it’s nice to hear some singing in-amongst the horns. A cracking atmosphere as Holland make a positive start without worrying Brazil’s daunting defence.
– 3 mins: The game starts at break-neck pace with tackles flying in. Arjen Robben gets dumped to the ground but there’s no booking.
– 1 min: And we’re off.  The Dutch get us underway in their famous orange. Brazil are in blue shirts, white shorts and an absorbing couple of hours lays in wait.
– 1355 GMT: The teams are out and both captain’s read out an anti-racism message.
The Dutch anthem is mumbled along with by the players, but they look united and determined. The Brazilians sing along, hand on hearts. Goodness me, Lucio is a tough and scary looking fellow (until there’s a free-kick to be won!)
1352 GMT: Last minute drama for the Dutch. Mathijsen injured himself in the warm-up and is replaced by PSV Eindhoven’s Andre Oojier. This could expose the Dutch defence even further.
– 1350 GMT: ITV pundit and ex-England manager Kevin Keegan thinks the Dutch could be in for a tough afternoon. “I’ve talked to lots of Dutch friends and they think the centre-back partnership of Johnny Heitinga and Joris Mathijsen could be the weak link.”
I would imagine both teams will line up with similar formations. A back four shielded by two ‘attack dog’ stifling midfielders with the creative talents of Kaka and Wesley Sneijder providing the link between midfield and attack for their respective teams.
Expect width to be provided by the full-backs who will need no invitation to bomb down the wing

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