2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™

11 June - 11 July


#WorldCupAtHome: When the Oranje shocked A Seleção

The match between the Netherlands and Brazil kicked off the quarter-finals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Despite going a goal down to a Robinho strike, the Dutch turned the game around with a second-half brace from Wesley Sneijder as Brazil ended the match with ten men.

The summary

Netherlands 2-1 Brazil

2 July 2010 | Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth*
*: Netherlands (Wesley Sneijder 53’, 68’) | Brazil (Robinho 10’)


  • Netherlands: Maarten Stekelenburg, Gregory van Der Wiel, John Heitinga, Andre Ooijer, Giovanni van Bronckhorst (c), Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie (Klaas Jan Huntelaar 85’)
  • Brazil: Julio Cesar (c), Maicon, Lucio, Juan, Michel Bastos (Gilberto Melo 62’), Felipe Melo, Dani Alves, Gilberto Silva, Kaka, Robinho, Luis Fabiano (Nilmar 77’)
Brazil and Netherlands enter the pitch
© Getty Images

The stakes

This was the fourth meeting between the two teams at a World Cup and the second in a quarter-final. At USA 1994, Brazil beat a Dutch team that featured stars such as Dennis Bergkamp, Ronald Koeman and the De Boer twins en route to their fourth world title. Four years later at France 1998, A Seleção repeated the feat against the Oranje , this time in the semi-final.

Despite being without their injured centre-back Joris Mathijsen, the Netherlands extended their winning streak at the tournament to five games, having earlier won their group-stage matches against Denmark, Japan and Cameroon, and their last 16 meeting with Slovakia. Brazil’s campaign would end at the quarter-final stage, however, just as it had done four years earlier at Germany 2006.

The match

The crowd at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth did not have to wait long to see Brazil go in front. With just nine minutes on the clock, Felipe Melo split the Dutch defence with a delightful pass to Robinho, who stroked the ball beyond Stekelenburg. At that stage, A Seleção looked set to dominate proceedings.

Indeed, were it not for a string of excellent saves by Stekelenburg, the Dutch could have gone in at half-time more than a goal behind. However, eight minutes into the second half, Sneijder levelled for the Netherlands after swinging in an inviting cross, which brushed Felipe Melo’s head on the way into his own net.

Sneijder continued his brilliant performance by scoring his second not long after. Robben curled an in-swinging corner to the near post which was deftly flicked on by Kuyt, allowing the No10 to steer his header into Julio Cesar’s net from close range. Five minutes later, Brazil suffered a further blow when Felipe Melo was sent off for a stamp on Robben.

Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands celebrates the own goal by Felipe Melo of Brazil by waving into a TV camera
© Getty Images

The star

After taking four games and 355 minutes to score his first two goals in South Africa, Sneijder doubled his tally against Brazil in the space of just 15 minutes. Netting twice against the five-time world champions meant a lot to the midfielder, who said of his 68th-minute winner, "I just had to get my head on the ball – it was a great feeling to score."

What they said

“We showed the world that the Netherlands versus Brazil is a fantastic game. Finally, we beat them [after defeats at USA 1994 and France 1998].”
Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands midfielder and Man of the Match

“It took us about 25 minutes of today's game for our nerves to settle, and I was pleased to be only 1-0 down at the interval. During the break I told them to play their usual game in the second half. Once we scored our first goal, we played much better and proved that we've got a very strong squad."
Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands coach

"Everyone's gutted as we know we could’ve done better. Football can be a great source of joy but today, unfortunately, the people of Brazil are sad."
Robinho, Brazil forward

What happened next?

The win over Brazil strengthened the Netherlands’ conviction that they could reach the Final, and so it would prove. In their semi-final, Schneider scored his fifth goal of the tournament to help the Oranje to a 3-2 victory over Uruguay and reach the country’s third World Cup Final, after 1974 and 1978. In the decider, Spain would prove too strong, however, with Andres Iniesta’s extra-time goal securing them the title. As for Brazil, the loss brought an end to Dunga’s first stint as national team coach, although he would take up the reins again after the 2014 World Cup, at which the hosts finished fourth.

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