But it wasn’t just all that simple. After coming on the pitch with tons of confidence after their win against favorites, Brazil, they probably thought underdogs Uruguay would be a slightly easier path to the finals. But this remarkable Uruguay, who had an extra 2x 15 minutes in extra-time and penalty shoot out in their last match, wasn’t here to go down easily.
Except for their opening goalless draw against France, Uruguay has scored in every World Cup game. So when Holland took an early lead with a stunning cracker and one of the contenders for goal of the World Cup by veteran captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, we pretty much knew they would step up. Consistantly amazing striker, Diego Martín Forlán Corazo did what he does best and secured a 1-1 tie with a swirling long shot (a shot that perhaps keeper Maarten Stekelenburg should have saved) as the teams retired for halftime. Second half came and looked like both teams were feeling out each other and and waiting for the other's next mistake. When it arrived it was another one of those debatable on/off -side sequences, but nonetheless, the result was 2-1 Holland. Recently converted catholic and “Rejuvenated” Wesley Sneijder shot towards the far post and an offside Robin van Persie could have easily been the reason for disallowing the goal. Uruguay went for an equalizer and opened up behind, something Dirk Kuyt and Arjen Robben decided to take advantage of. Dirk made a cross inside the penalty box and Robben copied Sneijder’s header against Brazil and Oranje was up 3-1. Game over.
Well. Not if you are Uruguay though. A team that, perhaps already had reached the climax of achieving the impossible with the absolutely incredible finish against Ghana, knew very well that a game isn’t over until the extra time and the seconds until they are played and the whistle blown. Another heroic push took them up to 3-2 and suddenly the already cheering Dutch bench was in shock. But this is also a very strong, disciplined and different Holland than we’ve seen in this World Cup - a Dutch team that has been drilled by coach van Marwijk to see, think and dream of a World Cup final since day one with him at the helm.
Holland has never scored more than two goals after the group stages in a World Cup. Today they scored three and are one huge game away from achieving what no other Dutch team has ever done before. Will this be the year that will forever wipe out “The Best Team That Has Never Won The World Cup” from the Dutch football dictionary? On Sunday we'll know. Tomorrow we’ll know who will be their opponents. Spain or Germany. Best of luck to both.
Last but not least – Vamos Les Celeste! Today was well played and you still have the bronze to play for yet!