The miracle isn’t that the Netherlands beat Brazil. Not at all, as the two nations now have the same record against each other. The miracle is that the Dutch are winning ugly. That’s never happened before in my lifetime.
So, at halftime the score was 1-0. Brazil barely had the ball in the first half, but they had all the scoring chances. In the 5th minute Dani Alves (I think) was marginally but noticably offside, though for some reason Brazil continued playing and put the ball in the net.
Robinho’s goal was the sort of goal the Dutch haven’t been giving up. Brazilian attackers just ran away from the middle of the field, all the defenders followed them, and Felipe Melo played the ball into space and Robinho slotted in home with all kinds of time. Good vision from Melo, but really that’s just a large defensive error.
My other notes at halftime were: 1) Holland hasn’t really shown up yet, 2) referee is having a great game, 3) if we’d had the same Russian ref from the Holland Portugal game 4 years ago, there would already have been 8 red cards, 4) Brazil looks strangely nervous and whiny.
Holland came out to play in the second half. I had that written down in my notebook before they scored an ugly goal, apparently written down as an own goal from Felipe Melo, although considering that the ball was headed into the net, I’d call it more of a miscommunication. A lucky goal. The Dutch second was also lucky*, as Kuyt made a near post run, skipped it on with his head, and the ball fell to Sneijder in perfect position to deflect it home.
In my opinion, the referee had a brilliant match. Japan’s Yuichi Nishimura did his best to avoid giving out cards. Truthfully, he could’ve given out a ton and been correct in doing so. The Argentine announcers thought that he should be giving out cards; I disagree. He let the players decide the game. While Felipe Melo received a red card with 20 minutes to go, it was a pretty clear red card: he tripped Robben and then purposely stepped on his leg. That’s going to get a red card like 98% of the time. I thought he also showed incredible restraint in not giving yellow cards out to Brazil for dissent in the first half. He would have been correct, but it’s better that the players can decide the outcome of the match without referee interference.
Holland will have to play its semifinals without Van Bommel and without Van der Wiel. That’s tough. And I can’t understand how Holland failed to score a 3rd goal.
Good riddance to Dunga. With the game tied, Brazil didn’t create much. Down a goal, Brazil didn’t create much. That’s the danger to playing like you did. That’s the danger of bringing Brazil’s B team.
* Though also probably planned and well-executed.