Good morning to all bethome.com punters! The semi-final stage of the World Cup gets underway today with the first clash between Holland and Uruguay, as both nations will be seeking to hit peak form and book a place in the final. Both nations have been somewhat pleasant surprises in this World Cup and both would dearly want to reach Sunday’s final. Let’s take a look at the game more analytically…
Uruguay – Holland.
Green Point Stadium, Capetown.
Two time World Cup champions Uruguay (1930 and 1950) make their first semi-final appearance since the 1970 tournament in Mexico, while two time beaten finalists Holland (1974 and 1978) make their fourth semi-final appearance and their first since finishing fourth in 1998.
Uruguay’s qualification to the semi-finals at the expense of Ghana in a penalty shoot-out came at a huge cost, as Suarez (3 goals) was sent off and Fucile picked up a second yellow card which means both are suspended from today’s clash. The absence of Suarez means head coach Tabarez will revert to a 4-4-2 formation with Forlan being pushed up in attack alongside Cavani. There are still doubts over the availability of skipper Lugano, however there is an increasing likelihood Godin will be fit in time to make the line-up. Martin Caceres of Juventus will slot into left back for the suspended Fucile. Ajax midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro has bee ruled out of the rest of the tournament through injury.
The Netherland’s victory over Brazil stretched their unbeaten run to 24 matches and 13 match winning streak in World Cup qualifying and finals matches, while during 2010 they have 9 victories in as many games. Head coach Bert van Marwijk is forced to make two changes because of suspension, as right back Van der Wiel and defensive midfielder De Jong are unavailable. Boulahrouz and De Zeeuw come in to replace them, while a third change will take place in central defence where Mathijsen returns at the expense of Ooijer.
Uruguay: Muslera - Maximiliano Pereira, Victorino, Godin, Caceres - Perez, Arevalo, Gargano, Αlvaro Pereira - Forlan, Cavani
Holland: Stekelenburg - Boulahrouz, Mathijsen, Heitinga, Van Bronckhorst - Van Bommel, De Zeeuw - Robben, Sneijder, Kuyt - Van Persie
SELECTION: The game is not as easy as it would seem for the Dutch although they do look like having more quality than cohesion, which is a characteristic more attributed to Uruguay. I believe we will see a tight game with both nations eyeing a final spot and using tactics accordingly. My selection is Under 1.5 goals.