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For Sneijder, hair-loss was a big gain

sports Updated: Jul 03, 2010 00:00 IST

There was only one name on the lips of the thousands of Dutch supporters in Port Elizabeth on Friday and that was Wesley Sneijder.

The man of the match, reflecting on his crucial header, said: “This was my first header here, I don't think it will happen again, but it was great. The ball slipped on my bald head and went into the net, a great feeling.”

The 26-year-old added: “If you can elimnate Brazil, one of the best teams in this championship the first feeling is relief, we always believed in it. Brazil have a strong defence but nonetheless we scored two goals. We did a great job — just so happy going on to the semis, it's a moment to savour — from tomorrow we will concentrate on the semi-final.”

Holland went into the break trailing 1-0 and Sneijder disclosed the conversation in the dressing room at half-time had been tense.

“At the break we said to each other we really had to improve things and put more pressure on the Brazil defence. For the last 45 minutes we went full throttle and we were rewarded for it — we scored two goals — it was wonderful.”

Celebration time

The Dutch players were still celebrating on the pitch in South Africa when back home the local media revelled in the win.

“Oranje through,” screamed the website of De Telegraaf daily in a bright orange frame on its website. The paper spoke of “the miracle of Port Elizabeth” as thousands took to the Dutch streets in celebration.

The Algemeen Dadblad said: “Oranje stunt: into the semis via Brazil.” And then went one step further: “Oranje can start believing in the world title.”

The Dutch have only one title — Euro 1988. De Telegraaf said that "the team has finally overcome its Brazil syndrome," looking back at a 3-2 quarterfinal defeat in 1994 and on penalties in the 1998 semis.