3 Jul 2010

Brazil exit World Cup

6:48 am on 3 July 2010

Favourites Brazil have been sensationally dumped out of the football World Cup by the Netherlands in the biggest shock of the tournament.

The Dutch, who looked in danger of being overrun in the first half in Port Elizabeth, fought back in the second to win 2-1 over a Brazil side reduced to 10 men by the end of the match.

Brazil, five-times former champions and one of the hot favourites to triumph again, had looked rampant in the first half, after Robinho scored in only the 10th minute.

But the Dutch regrouped in the second half and became increasingly dominant.

They equalised through a Felipe Melo own goal from a Wesley Sneijder free kick in the 53rd minute, following total confusion in the Brazilian defence.

Once the Dutch had levelled, Brazil seemed to fall apart and Sneijder headed in the winner in the 68th minute.

Brazil's chances seemed to evaporate after Melo was sent off soon afterwards for stamping on winger Arjen Robben.

The victory for the Netherlands, who have never won the trophy despite their long-admired style, caused joy at home, where a survey said 40 percent of workers were taking all or part of the day off to watch the game.

In the semi-finals, the Netherlands will play the winner of the later quarter-final when Ghana will carry the hopes of Africa against Uruguay.