Hup Holland!

The Netherlands made it to the final of the World Cup for the first time since 1978 last night, after they beat Uruguay 3-2 in a dramatic semi-final that they almost threw away. After scoring two goals in three minutes through Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben in the second half to make it 3-1 the match looked as good as over, but a very late goal from Pereira set up a grandstand final two minutes in which the Dutch had to defend with their lives. However they held out, sparking wild celebrations all over the country.

The Dutch could now face old enemy Germany in the final and take revenge for 1974, when Gerd Muller’s West Germany defeated Johan Cruyff and Total Football, the best team the country has ever had.

‘This is very special,’ said coach Bert van Marwijk. ‘After 32 years we play the final again. Such a small country can be so very proud. I won't say (that) I (would) prefer to play one team or another but it would be unique to play Germany after 1974 (when Germany beat the Netherlands in the final).

‘I don't think in terms of revenge. The Netherlands played a wonderful match against Germany but we lost and we should have won it. It was a unique generation with Johan Cruyff, the best footballer who ever existed. So it is great that we have ended up in the final again.

‘I am very happy and proud that such a small country is in the final of a World Cup. It is difficult to understand but you have to go out there and live it and do it.’

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