Holland end Dani Alves' World Cup dream (2-1)
The South Africa 2010 adventure is over for FC Barcelona’s Dani Alves. Losing 1-0 at half time, Holland produced unexpected brilliance in the second half and sent Brazil crashing out of the tournament.
Alves may have started the tournament on the bench, but he earned himself a place in Dunga’s
starting line-up thanks to some terrific performances in the unfamiliar position of right
midfielder, playing just in front of Maicon. He played the full ninety against Holland in
today’s quarter final in Port Elizabeth, and especially in the second half, when Brazil
started floundering, it was the Barça man who did the most to keep his team afloat.
But at the end of the day, it was two former Barcelona players, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and
Mark van Bommel, who had smiles on their faces. Yet at half time it had looked like the South
Americans were going to cruise it.
Robinho early doors
The leaks had
already been exposed in Holland’s back four in the opening minutes when Robinho was denied a
goal by the offside flag, but the same man was on target shortly after when he expertly converted
Felipe Melo’s pinpoint pass from midfield. By half time, Holland were against the ropes in
what was proving to be one of the games of the tournament, and had it not been for goalkeeper
Maarten Stekelenburg, they could have been much more than a single goal down.
Holland bounce back
were very few signs of what would be a historic comeback in the second half. But Holland came back
out with renewed vigour, and produced an equaliser when Felipe Melo nodded a Wesley Sneijder cross
into his own net. That was in the 53rd minute, and twelve minutes later Sneijder was there to head
home a corner and make it 2-1.
All Brazil’s good work in the first half had come to nothing, and their desperate
scramble to get back into the game was not helped by Felipe Melo shockingly stamping on Robben and
being rightly red-carded for his sins. As Brazil threw everything into attack, Holland retaliated
with some dangerous counter attacks. Here, they could easily have sentenced the game but squandered
several simple opportunities.
Game over for Brazil
However, Brazil failed to reproduce any of their first half magic and their World Cup
challenge faded to nothing. Holland, meanwhile, may have lacked spark in this World Cup so far, but
what we saw in the last 45 minutes against Brazil today has seen the Oranje suddenly up there among
the favourites to win the trophy.
So, it all ended in bitter disappointment for Dani Alves. Nevertheless, he can take heart
from the fact that he was one of the most impressive components of a Brazil team that seemed to be
getting everything right until those fateful last 45 minutes against Holland.
Holland: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Van Bronckhorst, Van Bommel, Kuyt, De Jong,
Van Persie (Huntelaar 85’), Sneijder, Robben and Ooijer.
Brasil: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Juan, Felipe Melo, Michel Bastos (Gilberto Melo
62’), Gilberto Silva, Luis Fabiano (Nilmar 77’), Kaka, Robinho and Dani Alves.
Goals: 0-1, Robinho (10’); 1-1, Felipe Melo (pp) (53’); 2-1, Sneijder (68’)
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (JPN).