Port Elizabeth, South Africa (Sports Network) - For the second successive FIFA World Cup, Brazil has failed to reach the semifinals as it suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Netherlands at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday in a quarterfinal match.
Brazil was knocked out in the quarterfinal round by France in 2006, but it was firmly in control in the first half of Friday's match and it took the lead after 10 minutes through Robinho.
However, Brazil failed to capitalize on a number of other chances and allowed the Netherlands to equalize early in the second half with a fluke own goal from Felipe Melo.
Wesley Sneijder then put the Dutch ahead with a 68th-minute header before Melo's night got even worse as he was sent off for stepping on Arjen Robben after the Dutchman had gone down in the 73rd minute, effectively ending Brazil's chances.
"I can't explain it. We were excellent in the first half but conceded two silly goals in the second and got knocked out," Robinho said. "Anyone who saw the first half would have thought we'd end up thrashing them but we ended up conceding twice. Everyone's gutted and we know we could have done better."
The Netherlands last reached the semifinals of the World Cup in 1998, when it was beaten by Brazil, and it will now play Uruguay in the semifinals on Tuesday.
The Dutch lost central defender Joris Mathijsen to a knee injury prior to the match and his absence was felt in the opening 10 minutes when Robinho sliced through the middle of the back line and took a pass from Melo before slotting his shot past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
Brazil continued to pressure and Dani Alves should have done better with a low cross from Juan that he fired over the net from eight yards, while a brilliant build up followed six minutes later for the South Americans.
Robinho started the move by dancing down the left wing and playing a pass to Luis Fabiano, whose clever backheel found Kaka at the top of the box. He then sent a curling shot toward the upper-right corner of the net, but the ball was tipped past the post by a fine save from Stekelenburg.
The goalie also did well right before halftime to keep out a good first-time strike from Maicon, which proved huge as the game entered the second half.
The equalizing goal came very much against the run of play and it was an innocent looking cross from Sneijder that set it up.
The ball was played toward the front of goal from the right wing, but goalkeeper Julio Cesar was bumped by teammate Melo, allowing the ball to hit off Melo's head and go into the net.
"It took us about 25 minutes of today's game to deal with our nerves, and I was pleased to be only 1-0 down at the interval," said Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk. During the break I told them to play their usual game during the second half. Once we scored our first goal we played much better and proved that we've got a very strong squad."
It was a slice of good fortune for the Dutch, and it also saw Brazil come unhinged.
The winning goal came in the 68th minute from a corner kick as Arjen Robben played the ball to the near post for Dirk Kuyt, who flicked it into the path of Sneijder for a successful header.
Brazil was down to 10 men five minutes later when Robben went down and was stepped on by Melo, earning the midfielder a red card and severely damaging Brazil's chances.
The final 15 minutes saw Brazil unable to really threaten the Dutch net, with the best chance coming on a corner kick that was poorly handled by Stekelenburg but headed to safety by Kuyt.