PORT ELIZABETH - Netherlands came out for
the second half of their World Cup quarter-final against Brazil
as if it was their last 45 minutes of the tournament and that
approach proved decisive, said playmaker Wesley Sneijder.
The Dutch were trailing 1-0 at the break on Friday but by
playing their best football of the campaign so far they managed
to turn the tide and come back strongly to win 2-1.
"At half time, we said to each other we had to improve
things, we had to put more pressure on the Brazilian defence,"
Sneijder, who scored the winner, told a news conference.
"For 45 minutes we went full throttle and we were rewarded
for it. When you score two goals and you win, it's wonderful,"
he added after the match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
It was Netherlands' first victory over the South American
side since they beat Brazil 2-0 in a World Cup second round
group match at the 1974 finals in West Germany.
The Dutch registered their 13th straight World Cup win to
maintain a perfect record in the qualifiers and finals but the
triumph over Brazil was their first major scalp in that run.
Sneijder played in five of their eight qualifiers without
scoring but has netted three times already at these finals
including Friday's 68th minute winner.
He also supplied the cross that was flicked into his own net
by Brazil's Felipe Melo to level the scores in the 53rd.
"The feeling is fantastic. If you can eliminate Brazil, one
of the biggest, best teams of this championship... If you do
that, the feeling is relief," he added.
"Brazil have a very strong defence but nevertheless we
scored two goals."
"It was my first headed goal and I don't think it will
happen again... it slipped off my bald head and went into the
goal," a somewhat surprised Sneijder said.
After beating tournament favourites Brazil, the Dutch are
now second in the betting behind European champions Spain.
The Dutch camp has been in good spirits in South Africa and
Sneijder said they would enjoy their win tonight but must stay
focused on the main target -- winning their first world title.
"We have to take a moment to savour it and from tomorrow, we
have to concentrate on the semi-final," he added ahead of their
next match on Tuesday at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town.
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