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Netherlands Defeats Uruguay, 3-2 To Advance to World Cup Final

  • Sonny Young

Playing at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, the Dutch reached their first World Cup final in 32 years, getting a spectacular first-half goal from team captain Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, and two second-half goals within a span of three minutes from Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben.

The 35-year-old Van Bronckhorst says he will retire from football after this World Cup. He will leave the sport after scoring one of the best goals at the soccer extravaganza - a left-footed blast from 30 meters that shot into the top corner of the net. That gave the Netherlands a one-nil lead in the 18th minute. Uruguay equalized in the 41st minute, though, thanks to another excellent goal, a 25-meter kick from star striker Diego Forlan. It was Forlan's fourth goal of the tournament.

Sneijder scored his fifth goal of the competition when his strike deflected off an Uruguayan defender in the 70th minute. Sneijder was named Man of the Match and he is now tied with Spain's David Villa as the World Cup's top scorer. Robben's goal came off a header in the 73rd minute, and Uruguay got one back with a late goal in injury time by Maximiliano Pereira.

The Dutch have a 25-match unbeaten streak spanning two years, and they have won all six of their World Cup games in South Africa. They will face either Spain or Germany in Sunday's title game at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. Spain and Germany play Wednesday in the second semifinal in Durban.

Meanwhile, the team Uruguay beat in the quarterfinals, Ghana, has received a hero's welcome in the capital, Accra. Thousands of Ghanaian fans, many wearing the country's national colors of green, gold and red, turned out at the city's international airport to greet the team, nicknamed "The Black Stars." Ghana's veteran midfielder, Stephen Appiah, spoke to the well-wishers.

"I must say, we did our best to make history for our own people in Ghana and Africa," said Stephen Appiah. "Unfortunately, luck was not on our side. I'm not a prophet, but definitely, by any means necessary, we're going to qualify for the 2014 tournament. And we're not just going to qualify, but we're going to Brazil to be title contenders. Thank you."

Ghana was the only African team to reach the quarterfinals at this first football World Cup held on African soil. In other developments, South African President Jacob Zuma, who attended the Netherlands-Uruguay semifinal, says the country has made "good returns" on the estimated $4.2 billion it spent to host the World Cup.

Speaking to a group of investors in Cape Town Tuesday, Mr. Zuma said the building of stadiums created 66,000 new construction jobs, and that security improvements added 40,000 new, permanent police positions. President Zuma said the World Cup has also produced social benefits, such as creating unity among South Africans and improving the country's image as a tourist destination.

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