The Netherlands took down Uruguay 3-2 to advance to their third World Cup final, where they will face the winner of the other semifinal between Germany and Spain. Uruguay faces the loser of that game for third place.
Fans in Amsterdam are ready for their first World Cup final in 32 years
The Netherlands have advanced to their third World Cup final after beating Uruguay in 3-2 in the first semifinal of the World Cup.
The two teams went into the locker rooms tied at 1-1 and played back and forth for the first 20 minutes of the second half. In the 70th minute, the Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder took a pass at the top of the penalty area and snaked a shot through Uruguay's defense to put the Dutch up 2-1.
Minutes later, Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben put the game out of reach for Uruguay with a strong header on a cross from Dirk Kuyt.
Just before the final whistle, Uruguay pulled one back after a free kick pass to Maximiliano Pereira, who took a few short dribbles and curled in a low strike for the goal.
First half goals from distance
Giovanni van Bronckhorst opened the scoring for the Netherlands in the 18th minute with what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament.
Van Bronckhorst, center, fired away from nearly 40 meters
The Netherlands were still getting a feel for Uruguay's defense in the first 15 minutes of the game, having a few good looks at the goal but not seeing any real chances.
Van Bronckhorst took a pass from 38 meters (41 yards) out, and rather than dribble the ball in or make another pass, the Dutchman simply wound up and launched a perfect strike into the top right corner. Uruguay keeper Nestor Muslera got a finger on the ball, but it played no role as it wasn't enough to keep the ball from its destination - the inside of the top of the post.
Uruguay's first goal also came from a long shot that came as a surprise. The South Americans' offense began to come alive as the first half wore on, and their persistence paid off in the 41st minute as Diego Forlan, wearing the captain's armband in place of the suspended Diego Lugano, evened the score at 1-1 with a shot from 26 meters.
The Netherlands, who have now won all six of their games in the tournament, will face the winner of tomorrow's semifinal between Germany and Spain. It is the first final for the Netherlands since 1978, when they lost to then-tournament hosts Argentina.
Uruguay faces the loser of the Germany-Spain game in the match for third place in the tournament on Saturday.
Author: Matt Zuvela
Editor: Chuck Penfold