Holland 2 Brazil 1: Brazil stunned as Holland hit back to reach last four

Quarter-final: Wesley Sneijder dumped favourites Brazil out of the World Cup as Holland finally got the better of their erstwhile South American nemesis.

But they had to come from behind to avenge their heartbreaking defeats of 1994 and 1998 and book their place in the semi-finals.

Robinho, who had already had an effort ruled out for offside, fired the Brazilians ahead with just 10 minutes gone, and the Dutch struggled to cope during the opening 45 minutes.

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But Felipe Melo's 53rd-minute own goal gave them fresh impetus and Sneijder struck the decisibe blow 22 minutes from time before Melo was dismissed for stamping on Arjen Robben.

However, Holland will have to do without both full-back Gregory van der Wiel and midfielder Nigel de Jong for Tuesday's semi-final in Cape Town after both collected second bookings.

Dutch legend Johan Cruyff had claimed dismissively before the game that he would not pay to watch this Brazil team, and if he did stay away from the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, he would have been glad at half-time to have done so.

Dunga's men may not possess the flair of their forebears, but they had more than enough to cut Holland open repeatedly and the 1-0 lead they enjoyed at half-time was scant reward for their dominance.

Robinho thought he had given the South Americans the lead with just eight minutes gone after Luis Fabiano and Dani Alves combined to carve open the path to goal and he supplied the finish.

An offside flag ended that celebration, but the 32.5m forward did not have to wait too long for a chance to ease his disappointment.

This time, it was defensive midfielder Melo who split the Dutch rearguard wide open with a straight ball down the middle, and Robinho left orange shirts floundering in his wake as he beat goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with consummate ease.

But for Stekelenburg, the game would effectively have been over by the break with the Ajax man pulling off a fine one-handed save to keep out Kaka's curling 31st-minute effort after Robinho and Luis Fabiano had left Holland once again chasing shadows down the left.

The goalkeeper was relieved to see full-back Maicon's rasping drive, which bore similarities to Carlos Alberto's stunning strike in 1970, tear into the side-netting in stoppage time with the Dutch very much up against it.

But they resumed in more determined fashion, and they got their reward within eight minutes of the restart when, after Sneijder had curled a cross hopefully into the penalty area, Julio Cesar and Melo challenged each other and the ball went in off the midfielder's head.

Robben started to cause problems in the wake of the goal, but Alves flashed a long-range effort just wide and Kaka also went close at the other end as Brazil responded.

But it was Holland who took the lead with 22 minutes remaining when Kuyt flicked on Robben's corner and Sneijder steered a header into the net.

Melo received his marching orders five minutes later for senselessly stamping on Robben with his side's World Cup dream rapidly unravelling.

Andre Ooijer's last-ditch tackle denied Kaka five minutes from time, and there was no way back for the five-time winners.

Holland coach van Marwijk is convinced his team can go on to lift the World Cup.

He said: "I said to the Dutch Football Association two years ago that I was not going to this tournament just to take part in it.

"I'm a sportsman and if I go somewhere, I want to win. People might think that's arrogant, but we have proven we can beat Brazil, one of the best teams in the world.

"If that's a fact, we should dare to say this, we should go for it.

"But I will make it very clear to my team: we have still got two matches to play and the next match is the most important. We will have to really concentrate on that."

The defeat came as a bitter blow to five-times winners Brazil, whose coach Dunga said: "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."