Midfielder Wesley Sneijder and his Netherlands teammates can advance to their second straight World Cup final with a win today against Argentina in the semifinals.
Watch a highlight reel of Sneijder’s best goals above and read on for more about his life and career.
1. He Was a Part of the ‘Battle of Nuremberg’ in the 2006 World Cup
Sneijder played in his first World Cup in Germany in 2006 and played a role in what is now called the “Battle of Nuremberg” — a 1-0 loss to Portugal in which a record 16 yellow cards were issued.
The Football History Boys recalled the battle starting with a foul to Cristiano Ronlado by Dutch Khalid Boulahrouz that resulted in Ronaldo having to leave the game with an injury. The game also included players sliding into each other and even headbutting.
Sneijder was given a yellow card for pushing Portugal’s Petit to the ground.
2. He Was Named ‘Man of the Match’ 4 Times in the 2010 World Cup
In the 2010 World Cup, Sneijder got more praise than yellow cards. He scored key goals against Denmark, Japan, Brazil, and Uruguay Sneijder and was named “Man of the Match” in all four games.
The Netherlands advanced to the finals and held Spain scoreless for 116 minutes before losing 1-0 in extra time.
3. He was Voted Player of The Year by Goal.com in 2009-10
Goal.com voted Sneijder Player of the Year for the 2009-10 season. Sneijder impressed Goal and those who watched the 2010 World Cup with his ability as an attacking midfielder.
Since beginning his club career in 2003, Sneijder — a talented free-kicker — has scored 27 international goals and 111 club goals in his club career.
4. He is Married to Actress Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen and Has a Son
Sneijder had a great year personally and professionally in 2010. In July, he married Dutch-Spanish actress Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen (now Sneijder-Cabau), and Dutch soccer fans seemed to fall in love with her as well.
CBC News reported that:
(Yolanthe) was still being searched more than Spain on Google, on the eve of the World Cup match between the two countries.
According to Way Back Machine, the couple faced criticism from Sneijder’s previous wife and mother of his child, Jessey. But, the drama seemed to fade away and Jessey made an appearance at his father and new step-mother’s wedding.
5. He’s Ambidextrous
One of Sneijder’s less-known talents is that he is ambidextrous. Goal.com reported that the reason he is able to make such perfect passes is that he is equally skilled with his left and right feet — a quality that has helped him notch 101 career assists.