Holland 2 Brazil 1

Holland came from a goal down to beat Brazil 2-1 in a dramatic World Cup quarter-final at Port Elizabeth this afternoon.

An own goal from Felipe Melo after a rare error from Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar and a Wesley Sneijder header were enough to see the Dutch reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1998.

Brazil had taken the lead as early as the tenth minute when Robinho collected a deep pass from Melo before evading the Holland central defence to slot home past Maarten Stekelenburg.

Juan came close to giving the Selecao a two goal lead when he fired a Daniel Alves’ cross over the bar from six yards out while late in the first half Kaka saw his curling effort pushed away for a corner by Stekelenburg.

Holland struggled to get into the game in the first half and Brazil were able to nullify the threat posed by the flying Dutch winger Arjen Robben.

Dunga’s side looked all set to book their semi-final place until a moment of madness at the back. Michel Bastos fouled Robben and from the resulting free-kick the Bayern Munich forward and Sneijder interchanged passes before the Inter Milan midfielder whipped in an inviting cross.

Cesar, seemingly under little pressure, came to punch the ball clear but missed it completely and watched in horror as Melo’s misplaced header found the back of the Brazilian net.

Holland made the most of the gift offered by the tournament favourites with Robben causing panic in the Brazilian defence every time he got the ball. Sneijder, the smallest player on the field, made the most of some terrible marking to head the Netherlands in front after Dirk Kuyt had flicked on a Robben corner.

Brazil subsequently went into meltdown with Melo being given a straight red for stamping on Robben with 15 minutes still left to play. From that point onwards Holland controlled the game and booked themselves a semi-final showdown with either Uruguay or Ghana next week.

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