2010 FIFA World Cup: Top Five Reasons To Root for the Netherlands
With Ghana's heartbreaking 1-1 (4-2 PK) loss to Uruguay Friday night, there's one final underdog to root for in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Left in the field are Spain, Argentina, Germany, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
From the outrageous shade of orange to its victory over powerhouse Brazil, here are five reasons to root for the Dutch.
No. 1: Orange Is in Vogue
Of the remaining teams in the World Cup, Netherlands' colors stand out the most.
What's not to like about the safety orange?
1) It creates a clearly-visible sea of fans.
2) It's a summer color perfect for fans back home (just not in wintery South Africa).
3) It's a unique color that no other team dares to sport.
Sure beats the often-used shades of blue in Argentina and Uruguay.
Or the red in Spain and Paraguay.
No. 2: Rally Towel
Top-ranked Brazil always comes to the pitch as one of the favorites.
With five World Cups, it's nice to see new blood competing in the semifinals.
And it wasn't a very sportsmanlike showing for the Little Canary, whose Felipe Melo received a red card in the 73rd minute for stomping on Arjen Robben's leg.
For the first time in its history, Brazil lost a match after leading at halftime.
No. 3: Up in the Air
On the winning goal, Wesley Sneijder headed the ball into the net off a corner in the 68th minute.
Sneijder, who is just 5'7", was the shortest player on the field against the tallest team in the tournament.
Go ahead and draw comparisons to David versus Goliath.
After the goal, he was so excited he ran to a TV camera, tapped the lens and stuck his face in for a close-up.
More impressive is the fact that his header came off an initial header from a teammate.
According to the striking midfielder, that was his first goal off his bald head.
No. 4: There Will be European Blood
Heading into this weekend, there was the possibility that four South American teams would head into the semifinals.
That would mean a clean sweep, easily the first time in the tournament's history.
But with Netherlands' victory, there's guaranteed European representation if Germany and Spain fail to win their matches.
It wouldn't be the World Cup unless there was a more diverse group closing in on the final rounds, right?
No. 5: Underdog is Here
Just prior to kickoff, Netherlands had to alter its starting lineup at central defense when Joris Mathijsen injured his knee during warm-ups.
Ten minutes into the match, Brazil was already leading 1-0.
Following halftime, an own goal evened the score at 1-1 and shifted momentum.
Netherlands is in the midst of a team record 24-game winning streak, dating back to September 2008 against Australia.
Head coach Bert van Marwijk proclaimed that the Dutch could win the World Cup for the first time when he took over two years ago.
At first, people mocked him.
I wonder who looks crazy now?
Honorable Mention: Ghana
If Ghana had pulled the upset over Uruguay, this slideshow would be about the Black Stars.
But it wasn't in the stars as Asamoah Gyan's penalty kick to close out the second extra time hit off the crossbar.
Uruguay would go on to win 1-1 (4-2 PK) and eliminate the final African country remaining in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
In one of the more memorable (and heartbreaking) finishes to a match, Ghana should still receive tremendous credit for its run with a rather young team.