World Cup Soccer
                 === Brazil bounced from World Cup by Dutch ===
 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
 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.
 07/02 17:20:41 ET

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