Finally? Dutch book a date with destiny

Bold attack pays off as 3-2 win over Uruguay sets up a 'dream chance' for Holland to lift World Cup for first time

Dirk Kuyt said last night that his Holland team must seize the chance to succeed where the great Johan Cruyff side had failed in the 1970s after the current generation won a place in the World Cup final for the first time for the nation in 32 years.

The Netherlands looked to be comfortable at 3-1 up going into injury-time but a late goal from Maxi Pereira meant that they were clinging on for their place in Sunday's final in Johannesburg where they will face Spain or Germany who play tonight. The man of the match, Wesley Sneijder, scored the decisive second goal and Arjen Robben the third as Holland finally overwhelmed Uruguay in the second half.

Kuyt said: "It's an amazing feeling. Almost unreal. We said before the tournament that we could do this and get to the final. But we knew it would be a long journey. Now we are so close to the dream. We just have to keep going. Holland have been in two finals before but have not managed to go the extra yard and win it. Now we have the chance and to win the World Cup would be unbelievable, a dream come true for me."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the 35-year-old Holland captain, scored a spectacular opening goal on 19 minutes. The former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan scored an equally impressive equaliser before half-time but Holland's commitment to attack eventually told against the more conservative Uruguay.

Bert van Marwijk becomes the first Dutch coach to reach a World Cup final since the Austrian Ernst Happel led the team to the 1978 final against Argentina. Four years earlier, they had reached the final in Munich under the leadership of Rinus Michels, the architect of the Dutch style of total football. Holland lost on both occasions.

Van Marwijk said that the victory demonstrated that his players believed they could win the tournament. "We've shown in the past that we can win matches. I saw it at Feyenoord in 2002 when we won the Uefa Cup, when we didn't always have the best players but we had the best team. You have to work like that. The players started believing that, and we cultivated this mentality in the team.

"We have banished complacency. The players started to understand they had to do that in the last few years. I kept reading it in interviews with them. [Last night] I just said to them: 'Don't let this chance slip away.' They didn't."

The Dutch coach said that if it was Germany that they faced in Johannesburg on Sunday then they would try to keep the bitter history between the two nations – on and off the pitch – out of it. He said: "I don't think in terms of revenge. I remember the match in 1974 very well. I was still playing back then, and we played a wonderful game against Germany. But that's precisely what I'm getting at: we lost that game when we should have won it. We played well and we had a unique generation. Johan Cruyff was the best footballer I ever saw. But it's just great we are back in a final."

Sneijder, who won the Champions League final with Internazionale in May, said that his team had to remember that after six victories they needed only one more to be world champions. He said: "We have five days to recover, then we've got to do it once more. For 90 minutes. I've played big finals for my club, Inter, in the last few months but this is something special. We've got to savour it, enjoy it, and give everything we have to win."

The Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez claimed erroneously that Robin van Persie was offside for Sneijder's goal. He added that Forlan, substituted with the score at 3-1 was injured and could not go on. "There's no point crying about it [the second goal] and looking for excuses," Tabarez said. "We kept trying but it didn't come off. But I'm still proud of my team.

"When it comes to looking back at this tournament, we can say that we are one of the four semi-finalists and the other three are powerhouses in Europe. I believe that we could have caused Holland real difficulty at any time. I am proud and happy with the performance of the team in these finals. My team have managed to play on an equal footing against the other teams. I couldn't have asked for more from these players."

David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments