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De jong hoping for final word

Nigel de Jong is hoping his Holland team-mates can keep alive his dreams of playing in the World Cup final as he prepares to sit out the match which could take them there.

The 25-year-old Manchester City midfielder picked up his second yellow card of the tournament in yesterday's 2-1 quarter-final win over favourites Brazil and, like full-back Gregory van der Wiel who suffered the same fate, will be a frustrated spectator for their last-four clash with Uruguay in Cape Town on Tuesday night.

However, De Jong revealed he has already sought assurances from the rest of the squad that he will still have a chance to help secure a first ever World Cup win for the Dutch.

He said: "I am so disappointed. It was my second yellow for my first foul in the game. It's a little bit disappointing, but I know we have got enough quality to reach the final.

"I have said to the guys 'I will not be happy if we play for the third and fourth place'.

"They said, 'No problem, we are going to do it for you and Gregory'."

Holland will believe they can go all the way after coming from behind to send the Brazilians home from South Africa in a real game of two halves at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Robinho's 10th-minute opener, which came shortly after he had seen an earlier strike ruled out for offside, gave them a deserved lead, and but for the heroics of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who made a stunning 31st-minute save from Kaka, it could have been all over by the break.

However, Felipe Melo's 53rd-minute own goal gave the Dutch a lifeline and a rare header from Wesley Sneijder 22 minutes from time gave them their winner as Melo was sent off for stamping on Arjen Robben.

Revenge was sweet for Holland, who went out to Brazil in the latter stages of the tournament in both 1994 and 1998.

Sneijder said: "Finally, finally we won and we are very happy, for sure, because we have got to the semi-final.

"The feeling is fantastic for us. If we can put out Brazil, one of the biggest and best teams at this World Cup...

"It's a fantastic team effort. We always believed in ourselves."

The win was all the more impressive as coach Bert van Marwijk was forced into a late change when defender Joris Mathijsen was injured during the warm-up and was replaced at five minutes' notice by Andre Ooijer.



EXIT

Dunga's reign as Brazil coach looks to be at an end following their World Cup exit.

The 46-year-old took up the post following the Selecao's elimination from the 2006 World Cup in Germany, signing a four-year deal.

Asked about his future after yesterday's defeat, Dunga said: "I have been contracted for four years and we knew this right from the start.

"During the last four years, I have been very happy to coach this Brazil team and if you were to look at our players' faces now, you would probably understand how they feel."

Dunga added: "We are all extremely saddened. We didn't expect this and we hoped for a different result.

"We knew it was going to be a very delicate, very difficult game, but we weren't able to maintain the rhythm we had in the first half in the second half."


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