After decades of failure, the Netherlands is just one game away from World Cup glory.
The Oranje held off gutsy Uruguay 3-2 in the first tournament semifinal yesterday, clinching a spot in Sunday’s title game. They’ll meet either European champion Spain or 2010 stalwart Germany, who play at 2:30 p.m. today (see preview box, right).
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s brilliant 42-yard strike put the Netherlands on top in the 18th minute yesterday.
Diego Forlan tied it for Uruguay in the 41st minute, but goals from Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben essentially ended things.
Maxi Pereira found the net in stoppage time for the South Americans, and the Dutch held off a desperate final rally.
The Oranje celebrated heartily after the victory. Television shots showed similarly raucous parties in the Netherlands.
“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.”
The Dutch played in — and lost — World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978. But 2010 is the first time they’ll play a championship game against someone other than the host country.