Dutch delight as Holland close in on first World Cup crown
Holland did just enough to squeek past Uruguay 3-2 and have now been installed as 6/5 favourites to win the World Cup for the first time in their history.
A Giovanni Van Bronckhorst wonder strike gave them the lead before Diego Forlan scored his fourth tournament goal to level it before half time.
Wesley Sneijder’s fifth goal of the World Cup put Holland back in front before a rare Arjen Robben header sealed the win.
A well-worked Maxi Pereira effort gave Uruguay a glimmer of hope with a minute to go but Holland hung on to make it to their third World Cup final – and first for 32 years.
No team has ever made it to the three finals without winning one of them and with Sneijder keeping his imperious form going, the Oranjes will want to keep it that way.
Sneijder is now 3/1 to win the Golden Shoe after going joint-top of the scorers chart and it’s 4/1 for Sneijder to be the top scorer with Holland winning the World Cup.
Holland were not at their smoothest throughout the game, though, with only moments of brilliance showing, and will need to improve in the final if they are to turn the world orange.
However, they remain on course to mimic Brazil’s 1970 victory, when Pele and co won all their games at the tournament.
That event didn’t feature a round-of-16 tie, though, and a Holland win on Sunday will mark the first time a team has finished a World Cup in the current format with a 100 per cent record.
Forlan’s first-half equaliser was his third strike from outside the box at this World Cup – a tournament first – and with the third-place play-off game to go he still has a 25/1 shout at Player of the Tournament.
With no injuries or suspensions for the World Cup final, Holland can relax while watching tonight’s Germany v Spain game, safe in the knowledge they will be at full strength against whoever wins.
Should that be La Furia Roja then the question of whether we will see a first time winner will be answered in the affirmative. That’s currently a 1/3 shot.
Inter Milan’s Sneijder can complete a unique quadruple by winning the World Cup with his country in the same year as winning the treble with his club. He is now 2/1 favourite to be named the tournament’s best player.