Midfielder Nigel de Jong is confident the time has come for the Netherlands to break their FIFA World Cup™ duck after they finally gained revenge over Brazil.
Dutch hopes of winning the trophy for the first time were dashed by the Brazilians in the quarter-finals in 1994 and again in a heart-breaking semi-final shoot-out four years later. But this time around, it is the South Americans who are heading home early with their dreams of a sixth title in tatters following a remarkable turnaround at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Instead, the Dutch will face Uruguay, who edged out sole African survivors Ghana in a penalty shoot-out last night, in Cape Town on Tuesday evening believing their time has finally come. De Jong said: "Why not? The belief has always been there. We have reached the semi-final and we will see what happens now.
"Now we have to analyse our next opponents and make sure we can go on from the semi-final. Like I said at the beginning of the tournament, you have got to beat everybody to reach the final. Now we have beaten Brazil, we have to make sure we do the same to our next opponent."
The history between the two nations was a major topic of discussion in the run-up to the game, and Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt later admitted that provided even greater motivation. However, he also insisted the Dutch arrived in South Africa firmly believing they could go one better than their predecessors did in both 1974 and 1978, when they were beaten in the final.
Kuyt said: "We already had that feeling before the tournament, that on our day, we can beat every country in the world. But at the end of the day, we have to show it and we showed it. We deserved to win. We won 2-1, but the chances we had, it could have been 3-1 or 4-1. It was revenge for '98 and I am glad that we have turned it around.
"But at the end of the day, the most important thing for us today was to win and to show the world we can compete with the best teams in the world. It's unbelievable. I really enjoyed it, playing at the highest level in the quarter-final. But now we are focused on the next game. I don't think we realise how big it is at this stage because we have to be focused and we have to try to go all the way."
Kuyt paid credit to Wesley Sneijder, who headed the winning goal. "We always practise corners and today, it was the perfect corner. We were all so happy that the corner was good - but also that the smallest man on the pitch scored the goal. I you had bet on Wesley Sneijder scoring with a header, you would be a millionaire."
Robin van Persie and Joris Mathijsen, meanwhile, have been sent to hospital for scans after picking up injuries before and during yesterday's game. Hamburg defender Mathijsen pulled up in the warm-up ahead and had to be withdrawn, while Arsenal forward Van Persie is thought to have hurt his arm during the match in Port Elizabeth.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said: "He's in hospital at this moment to have a scan. And for Joris Mathijsen it's the same. Both are in the hospital for scans. Robin has an arm problem and Joris a knee problem. I don't know what it is, so that's why they are in the hospital now."