Giovanni van Bronckhorst inspired his side to a thrilling victory which leaves the Netherlands just 90 minutes away from the SA2010 title.
The former Arsenal man scored a stunning goal as the Netherlands edged past Uruguay in a five-goal thriller to book Bert van Marwijk’s team a place in Sunday’s final.
Wesley Sneijder, who destroyed favourites Brazil with two second-half goals in the quarter-finals, also scored before Arjen Robben sparked an orange party in Cape Town.
Netherlands captain van Bronckhorst, 35, will now get a chance to do what Johan Cruyff failed to do – lift the World Cup.
Despite reaching the final in 1974 and 1978, the Netherlands have never won the tournament.
It means the final will be an all-European affair as they will play the winners of Wednesday’s second semi-final between and Spain and Germany on Sunday.
Uruguay had been cast in the role of semi-final gatecrashers after Luis Suarez’s deliberate handball denied Ghana a last-gasp victory in last Friday’s controverisal quarter-final. So when van Bronckhorst broke the deadlock in the 18th minute from 35-yards, the roar could be hear all the way from Amsterdam to Accra, capital of Ghana.
Van Bronckhorst has represented the Netherlands more than 100 times. But his sixth goal for his country is something he will surely cherish forever after conjuring up a 35-yard left-foot screamer that not even Suarez could have kept out.
With an average age of 28 years and 342 days, van Marwijk opted to field the oldest Netherlands line-up in a World Cup match since 1978.
But instead of building momentum after taking the lead, they surpisingly lost their way. Uruguay were missing the attacking threat of Ajax forward Suarez, serving a one-match ban following his ‘Hand of God’ against Ghana. But like a bolt out of the blue, Oscar Tabarez’s side found themselves back on level terms thanks to another wonder goal by Diego Forlan. The Uruguay captain created space for himself five minutes before half time before arrowing the ball into the net from 30-yards for his fourth of the tournament. It was just as stunning as van Brockhorst’s effort, yet Netherlands ‘keeper Maarten Stekelenburg will feel he should have done better.
However, Uruguay’s dream was snuffed out by two quick goals in the closing stages.
Sneijder found the net from just inside the area in the 70th minute although there was a hint of suspicion that Robin van Persie was off-side.
But there was nothing controversial about Robben’s terrific header that made it 3-1 after Bayern Munich’s former Chelsea man connected with Dirk Kuyt’s cross to ensure the Netherlands reached the final on the back of six straight victories at South Africa 2010.
Uruguay (4-4-2): Muslera; M Pereira, Godin, Victorino, Caceres; Perez, Arevalo, Gargano, A Pereira (Abreu 78); Cavani, Forlan (S Fernandez 84).
Netherlands (4-5-1): Stekelenburg; Boulahrouz, Heitinga, Mathijsen, van Bronckhorst; Kuyt, van Bommel, Sneijder, de Zeeuw (Van der Vaart 46), Robben (Elia 90); van Persie.