Dutch through to final


Playmaker Wesley Sneijder inspired Netherlands to a 3-2 win over Uruguay last night that sent them back to the World Cup final after a 32-year wait.
Sneijder, scorer of both goals in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Brazil, was on target in the 70th minute to put the Dutch 2-1 ahead before Arjen Robben got a third three minutes later.
Maximiliano Pereira grabbed a second goal for Uruguay in the second minute of added time but despite a late spell of pressure from the South Americans, it was too late to stop the Dutch.
The first half had ended 1-1 after superb long-range strikes from left back Giovanni van Bronckhorst for Netherlands and forward Diego Forlan for the Uruguayans.
Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera handed the Dutch an early chance when he failed to hold Robben’s cross and the ball fell to Dirk Kuyt but he fired over the bar.
Robben had a shot blocked by his own player before Van Bronckhorst put the Dutch ahead in the 18th minute with a powerful, rising shot which went in off the far post. The goal sparked the Uruguayans — missing striker Luis Suarez through suspension and captain Diego Lugano through injury — into life and they began to attack with more purpose.
They levelled four minutes before halftime when Forlan collected a pass, cut inside his marker and scored with a long-range shot that caught goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg wrongfooted although he did get a touch.
The Dutch had more possession after the break but it was Uruguay who created the better openings. Alvaro Pereira’s chip was headed off the line by Van Bronckhorst and Forlan’s curling free kick forced Stekelenburg to turn the ball away at the foot of his near post.
Robben then wasted a golden chance for the Dutch when he fired wide when a rebound landed on his weaker right foot.
But Sneijder put the Dutch back in front with a shot through a forest of legs for his fifth goal of the tournament to become joint top scorer with Spain’s David Villa.
Three minutes later, Robben scored with a perfectly placed downward header after Kuyt’s cross from the left and although Uruguay got a second goal through Pereira the Dutch triumphed.
Uruguay: 1-Fernando Muslera; 3-Diego Godin, 6-Mauricio Victorino, 5-Walter Gargano, 16-Maximiliano Pereira, 22-Martin Caceres, 15-Diego Perez, 11-Alvaro Pereira, 17-Egidio Arevalo, 7-Edinson Cavani, 10-Diego Forlan.
Netherlands: 1-Maarten Stekelenburg; 12-Khalid Boulahrouz, 3-John Heitinga, 4-Joris Mathijsen, 5-Giovanni van Bronckhorst; 7-Dirk Kuyt, 6-Mark van Bommel, 10-Wesley Sneijder, 14-Demy de Zeeuw, 11-Arjen Robben; 9-Robin van Persie.