Day 22 saw The Netherlands book their place in a World Cup final for the first time since 1978.
Player of the Day: Giovani van Bronckhorst
The ageing Dutch captain had been pointed out as an Achilles’ heel before the tournament. However, GvB has rarely put a step wrong. He has led from the front, assisted the attackers whenever necessary. His linkup play with Kuyt has been pretty good too. He put the icing on the top with a brilliant opening goal. His strike might just end up to be the goal of the tournament. He was defensively solid for rest of the game.
Goal of the day: Giovani van Bronckhorst
Another award for the Dutch captain. The move came when the Dutch were trying to open up the Uruguayan defence with some neat pattern play. When the ball fell to van Bronckhorst, there were atleast 5 different players he could pass the ball to instead he chose to unleash a ferocious drive from 45 yards out. When such attempts don’t go in, they look comical. But his shot was just perfect. It beat Muslera and hit the inside of the post before going in.
The best goal of South Africa 2010?
Tragic hero of the day: Diego Forlan
You can’t help but feel for poor Forlan. He is one of the few players who actually carried his club form to South Africa, while the Rooneys and Ronaldos flopped, the untiring Uruguayan captain kept delivering the goods. He didn’t mind shifting to a slightly deeper role to facilitate the younger strikers Suarez and Cavani. Despite the change in position he was incredibly lethal. And still he managed to score 4 goals. The man is still unfairly and wrongly referred by his failed stint in Manchester United. People need to see the simple fact that he has been one of the best strikers in the world since going to Spain. His screamer put Uruguay back on level terms, but lack of support from midfield coupled with Cavani’s off-form saw his efforts go to waste. Forlan was subbed off a few minutes before the end.
If only he didn’t have an under-strength team…
Tactical move that clinched the match
The Dutch were struggling to break down an under-strength Uruguay defence in first half. Martin Caceres did a decent job in containing Robben from cutting back from the wings. Marwijk pulled off a tactical masterstroke in the second half. He brought on van der Vaart for de Zeeuw and switched to a 4-1-4-1. He also moved Robben to the left flank. In the absence of Diego Lugano, Robben got the desired space in the flanks. Van der Vaart contributed generously to the buildups and the Dutch suddenly looked like a more superior team.
Can he do what Rinuus Michel couldn’t?
Bruce-Lee move of the day
Martin Caceres has been known and loved for his feisty style of play. His attitude of taking no prisoners was evident yesterday too as he delivered some sweet chin music to de Zeeuw.
Time-to-get-a-new-watch award: Ravshan Irmatov
The referee in 1990 world cup semi-final between Italy and Argentina infamously “forgot” to end the match in stipulated time. The honest man later admitted he was too engrossed in the match. Did the same happen to the Uzbek referee yesterday? The match went for one and a half longer than it was meant to be. Uruguay scored their 2nd goal in 92nd minute, if they had scored a 3rd in that extra added time, then the referee might have received death threats.
The future’s bright because the post is Oranje
1978, world cup final, the score between The Netherlands and Argentina is tied at 1-1. The Dutch fans break into ecstasy as Rob Resenbrink lets loose a trademark shot. The Argentine goalkeeper is beaten. But in a heart-breaking moment the shot crashes off the post in the last minute of normal time. It was goal that would have won the Dutch a well deserved title. The match went into extra-time as Argentina won their first world cup after winning 3-1.
Robben assists the post for the 3rd goal
46 years later, the goal-post in Cape-Town looked like making amends for the torture one of its ancestors inflicted on The Netherlands. And the post made a telling contribution. The first and last Dutch goals were assisted by the post. A similar performance in the final will see the clan of goal-posts forever live in peace and harmony with the Dutch.
Doing it the Dutch way
As mentioned here the Dutch lack the killer instinct. They assume the match is over even before the time is up. They try to do fancy things when they are a goal up instead of killing the game. This hurt them in ’74 final. Against Brazil they should have won 4-1 but they didn’t show enough zeal to take their chances. Even yesterday, they should have wrapped the game ten minutes before it ended. Robben missed a good chance as he tried to be cheeky. Uruguay made it 3-2 on 92nd minute giving the Dutch supporters an all too familiar 3 minutes of anxiety.