Oranje boom! Sneijder winner brings curtain down on Dunga

Holland 2 Brazil 1: Brazil coach quits as backlash over lack of style is sparked by favourites' shock defeat

One of the best books written about Sir Alf Ramsey was called Winning isn't Everything and it is a phrase Dunga, in one form or another, will take to his grave. Had Brazil won the World Cup, with a team stripped of its style and with panache sacrificed to efficiency, the applause in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro would have stopped short of an ovation.

But Brazil did not win, they were expelled from the World Cup in the grimly appropriate setting of Port Elizabeth, the centre of South African heavy industry, by the Netherlands. By the end, reduced to 10 men when Felipe Melo stamped on Arjen Robben – who had been ruthlessly targeted all afternoon – they made the kind of exit from a tournament they are expected to win by right with the kind of display Dunga's many, many critics expected.

Announcing his resignation as coach of the Selecao, Dunga admitted to bearing the heaviest responsibility for defeat. "It is sad, it is difficult," he said. "Nobody prepares to lose. If you were to look at these players' faces, you would know how they feel. The press carries on its work and the team carries on its. We did not expect this."

The pressure on any member of the Selecao is unlike that of any other team and as Dunga was quitting, elsewhere in the Nelson Mandela Stadium, Michel Bastos, who gave away the free-kick that finished with Wesley Sneijder's winner was in tears afterwards, while Robinho, who had opened the scoring in a first half the Brazilians dominated, raged about the failure to deal with "two silly balls that cost us the World Cup".

However, Brazil were beaten by other stupidities. When they were 2-1 down and in desperate need of an equaliser, Dunga removed his leading goalscorer, Luis Fabiano, for the more questionable attacking talents of Nilmar. And after opening the scoring with a long pass from Melo, which Robinho anticipated more instinctively than anyone in an orange shirt, Kaka, playing better than at any time in this tournament, forced a wonderful, one-handed save from Maarten Stekelenburg. The Dutch defence that had already lost Joris Mathijsen in the warm-up and for whom Gregory van der Wiel was having a wretched afternoon, seemed ready to crack.

The Netherlands' manager, Bert van Marwijk, considered himself lucky to be addressing a team that was only a goal down at the interval. However, by the end he wondered why Holland had not won by four or five to one.

"At half-time we said to each other that we had to improve and put pressure on the Brazilian defence," said Sneijder. "It could have been our last 45 minutes in the tournament, so we went full throttle. The feeling is fantastic, of course. If you can eliminate Brazil, one of the biggest and best teams in the World Cup, you have to savour it."

Had Brazil simply attacked the Dutch, and had they not attempted to kick Robben off the pitch, they might still be in this World Cup. There is a secret history to Brazilian football and before kick-off South African television screened it; in the form of the meeting between the then world champions and the Netherlands in the 1974 tournament. In Dortmund, Brazil, playing in blue as they did in Port Elizabeth, targeted Johan Cruyff savagely. The Dutch responded, Brazil were reduced to 10 men and exited the World Cup. The Netherlands moved on to the final.

When he was at Real Madrid, Robben was known mockingly as "El Hombre de Cristal" or the Man of Glass because of his propensity to be injured. Yesterday, he was picked out first by Dani Alves, then Melo, who was finally dismissed when driving his studs into his thigh. Holland, with their treatment of Kaka and Luis Fabiano, proved they could dish it out, too.

Under the circumstances the banner of "Give Peace a Chance" that was on display proved mockingly inappropriate. Van Marwijk remarked that if journalists looked at the video evidence they would be "ashamed for Brazilian football." The first of the "silly balls" that brought the Dutch back into the World Cup was an accident. Sneijder's cross was meant for Andre Ooijer but, although the one-time Blackburn centre-half went up for the ball, he didn't reach it. He did, however, do enough to put off Julio Cesar and the cross skimmed Melo's head and nestled in the back of the net.

Brazil seldom seemed able to recover their composure. Their captain, Lucio, might have given a penalty for handball and once more they were undone by a ball sent high into their box. This time it was delivered by Robben, flicked on by Dirk Kuyt and headed into the net by Sneijder, who ran over to the bench in a state of euphoria tapping his forehead and yelling into a nearby camera.

"It was my first headed goal," he said. "It just slipped off my bald head and went in – and I'm pretty sure it's not the sort of thing that will happen again."

Holland (4-5-1): Stekelenburg; Van Der Wiel, Heitinga, Ooijer, Van Bronckhorst; Van Bommel, De Jong, Robben, Sneijder, Kuyt; Van Persie (Huntelaar, 85).

Brazil (4-3-3): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Juan, Bastos (Gilberto, 62); Alves, Melo, Silva; Kaka, Robinho, Fabiano (Nilmar, 77).

Referee: Y Nichimura (Japan).

Attendance: 40,186.

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence