PORT ELIZABETH - Don’t call the Dutch underachievers anymore. Not after the way the Netherlands rallied to upset five-time champion Brazil 2-1 in the World Cup quarterfinals Friday.
After waking themselves up at halftime, the title that has eluded the Dutch for all these years is now just two wins away.
“For 45 minutes we went full throttle,” said Wesley Sneijder. “We were rewarded.”
One of the shortest players on the field, Sneijder put the Netherlands ahead in the 68th minute on a header—a thrill so huge he ran to a TV camera, tapped the lens and stuck his face in for a close up.
“It just slipped through from my bald head and it was a great feeling,” Sneijder said.
He was in the middle of the post-game party, too, as his teammates swarmed him when the final whistle blew. John Heitinga picked up Sneijder and slung him over his shoulder as Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a Brazil shirt in hand, leaped up and rubbed Sneidjer’s closely shaved head.
The result was a case of role reversal for both sides.