Nigel de Jong is hoping his Netherlands team-mates can keep alive his dreams of playing in the FIFA World Cup™ final as he prepares to sit out the match which could take them there.
The 25-year-old midfielder picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in yesterday's 2-1 quarter-final win over favourites Brazil and, like full-back Gregory van der Wiel who suffered the same fate, will be a frustrated spectator for their last-four clash with Uruguay in Cape Town on Tuesday night.
However, De Jong revealed he has already sought assurances from the rest of the squad that he will still have a chance to help secure a first ever FIFA World Cup win for the Dutch.
"I am so disappointed," he said. "It was my second yellow for my first foul in the game. It's a little bit disappointing, but I know we have got enough quality to reach the final. I have said to the guys 'I will not be happy if we play for the third and fourth place'. They said 'No problem, we are going to do it for you and Gregory'."
It's a little bit disappointing, but I know we have got enough quality to reach the final.
The Netherlands will believe they can go all the way after coming from behind to send the Brazilians home from South Africa in a real game of two halves at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Robinho's 10th-minute opener, which came shortly after he had seen an earlier strike ruled out for offside, gave them a deserved lead, and but for the heroics of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who made a stunning 31st-minute save from Kaka, it could have been all over by the break.
However, Felipe Melo's 53rd-minute own goal gave the Dutch a lifeline and a rare header from Wesley Sneijder 22 minutes from time gave them their winner as Melo was sent off for stamping on Arjen Robben. Revenge was sweet for the Netherlands, who went out to Brazil in the latter stages of the tournament in both 1994 and 1998.
"Finally, finally we won and we are very happy, for sure, because we have got to the semi-final," said Sneijder. "The feeling is fantastic for us. If we can put out Brazil, one of the biggest and best teams at this World Cup ... It's a fantastic team effort. We always believed in ourselves."
The win was all the more impressive as coach Bert van Marwijk was forced into a late change when defender Joris Mathijsen was injured during the warm-up and was replaced at five minutes' notice by Andre Ooijer.