CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) —
Arjen Robben emerged from the bottom of an Oranje mosh pit, mud on his brow and a smile on his face.
For good measure, he threw kisses at his teammates and fans. His goal gave the Netherlands a 3-2 victory over Uruguay and a spot in the World Cup final.
Now that’s a Dutch treat!
The big prize — that elusive first title — is still one game away. But this was such a moment to savor that most of the squad made a curtain call nearly an hour after the biggest Netherlands victory in decades, leading about 1,000 orange-clad fans in cheers that figure to last until Sunday.
That’s when the Dutch play either Spain or Germany for the championship of the world.
“If you win the final, you make yourself immortal, at least in our country,” Robben said. “We will do everything we can to take the Cup back.”
Long wasteful with its soccer talent, the Netherlands sure has found the right touch in this tournament.
Stars Wesley Sneijder and Robben scored three minutes apart in the second half as the Netherlands advanced to its first title match since losing in 1978 to Argentina.
“We are so close,” Sneijder said. “There is nothing bigger than the World Cup.”
And nothing better than sharing it with their countrymen.
So out came Robben, Sneijder and their teammates long after the final whistle, to join the celebration in an empty stadium — empty except for that rollicking section of fans still singing Dutch songs, waving flags, and bowing in unison. The players joined in from the field, several on the shoulders of others, some taking photos. Back home in Amsterdam, the victory touched off mass celebrations, too.
Winners of all six games in South Africa, 10 in a row overall and in the midst of a 25-match unbeaten streak, the Dutch have the look of champions — with an Oranje hue, of course.
“This is unforgettable,” said Sneijder, now tied with Spain’s David Villa for top scorer at the tournament (five goals). “It was a tough fight and toward the end we complicated matters.
“Sunday we play in the World Cup final. I have to get used to that.”……..
Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben scored second-half goals and the Netherlands withstood a late charge to beat Uruguay 3-2 on Tuesday and advance to the World Cup final. (July 6)
Thank goodness for YouTube for these great highlights and NET10 for providing the scores until I got home. Amazingly, my cell phone company has an updated WC line for soccer nerds like me who need to keep up with the daily scores. Anyone who has the final stages of FIFA fever should give NET10 a try before Sunday’s final game – 1877-NET10-80 for daily scores and updates.
There were scenes of mass celebration in central Amsterdam on Tuesday evening as the Netherlands turned on the style to reach its third World Cup final with a 3-2 victory over Uruguay (July 6)