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Orange Crushed: Holland and Uruguay Advance To Semis

Alex FergusonSenior Analyst IIJuly 2, 2010

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JULY 02:  Dutch fans celebrate at an open air bar following the Holland defeat of Brazil in the World Cup in a 2-1 upset on July 2, 2010 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The Netherlands came back after being down a goal by halftime, scoring two goals in the second half of the game at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Goodbye Kaka, your Brazil side played like complete Dunga, and now it's Holland who are going nuts.

Meanwhile, the whole of Uruguay is celebrating the Hand of Uruguayan God after Luis Suarez's ill-advised/well-advised handball/save on the line denied Ghana a sure goal in injury time of the second half of extra time. In the end, it proved to be the turning point in one of best games of the World Cup.

Netherlands 2-1 Brazil

I was sure the Dutch were going to lose. They had the talent, but the players seemed to hate each other and there wasn't enough courage to go round.

But after being 1-0 down at the half and getting lucky with an equaliser after some astonishingly awful Brazilian defending (Melo's own goal tipped off the gloves of keeper Julio Cesar), it was the men in orange who suddenly looked good value to go to the semi-finals and beyond.

After they conceded, Brazil looked like flawed machine, unable to string together passes or shots. Wesley Schnejder's header—also a product of horrible Brazilian defending from a set piece—instantly turned Dunga's men into 10 nutjobs (Kaka looked like the only competent player on the pitch in blue for the last 25 minutes).

Melo, after conceding the own goal, got sent off for a vicious and needless challenge.

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The football purists might mourn the end of Brazil at the World Cup, but no-one's going to miss a side who seemed to enjoy lying on the floor rather than playing the beautiful game. It was Holland who played the game—and now, if Arjen Robben could just realise that there's other people in the park other than himself—this team will be World Cup winners come a week from Sunday.

Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (After Extra Time; Uruguay go through on penalties)

Luis Suarez must not know what to do right now—celebrate or cry. If it wasn't for his handball on the line which denied the Ghanaians victory at the end of extra-time in a brilliant, breathless battle for a semi-final place (Paraguay and Japan take note: THAT was how to play a game of knock-out football), he would be going home to Montevideo.

However, he must also be a little annoyed at himself because he denied himself the chance to play for a place in the final. He'll be sitting in the stands watching his team battle the mighty Dutch and he'll be sorely missed. After all, it was his finishing which got Uruguay to the quarters in the first place, and now Diego Forlan has to play on his own, and could well just end up in a Dutch pocket.

As for Forlan, what can you say? He's been one of the players of the tournament, and his free kick was yet another signal to Sir Alex Ferguson that getting rid of him while he was at Manchester United was probably one of the greatest managerial mistakes The Scottish Great One has ever made.

Can you imagine him playing off Rooney now? It's enough to make a United fan drool. His penalty was scorching, and I can't wait to see what he conjures up against the Orange army.

But while we celebrate light blue, we must also commiserate with Ghana. If there was justice in the world, Ghana would have gone through. Asamoah Gyan's penalty would have hit the back of the net, and the cruel lottery known as penalties would never have happened.

In fact, it was a game that anything other than penalties would have been an unfair outcome. Both sides attacked each other for the best part of 120 minutes, continually searching for the winning strike and exhausting their own fans—and the neutral—as they searched for victory.

But unfortunately, the night was about the Uruguayan Hand of God, and now Montevideo's in heaven.

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