They became the first team in history to come from behind to beat the top ranked Brazilians in their quarterfinal match, sending one of the favored teams home with their tails between their legs. After a wild finish in their quarterfinal victory over Ghana on penalty kicks, Uruguayan players and fans alike are beginning to get the sense that this may be a team of destiny. We haven’t succeeded in our mission yet. Tough defending, great transition play from offense to defense and back to offense, and creative attacking have marked their World Cup resume.
Dutch Emerge From Tougher Group Play
Of the two teams, Netherlands have had the more difficult route to the semifinal. This should allow them to play loose and take chances against the favored Dutch side.. Defender Gregory van der Wiel and midfielder Nigel de Jong received their second yellow cards of the tournament in the win over Brazil and will be unavailable. As Van Marwijk explains, “It has now been two years that I have been trying to get the players to understand that in order to be world champions, they must shine regularly without ever letting up. Suarez received a red card for his intentional goal line hand ball to prevent Ghana from scoring a winning goal at the end of the overtime period. For the Dutch, the key to victory is to stop Diego Forlan” and maintain their level of play after their big victory over Brazil. Add to this the underdog’s penchant to see the coverage of the match as disrespect and Uruguay enters the match with a lot of the intangibles going them.
Uraguayan Lineup Changes
Going into the semifinal, Uruguay will be missing 3 players. Throughout the tournament, the Dutch have shown flashes of their trademark flair and style but this team has been different in that they have also been brutally efficient. Suarez was tied for Uruguay’s leading scorer of the tournament with Diego Forlan and this will pose some challenges for Uruguay against the Dutch.
The first game of the World Cup 2010 semi-final pits the lone remaining South American team in the tournament, Uruguay, against a dangerous attacking Netherlands team. Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk has done a masterful job in keeping the team together and has limited the distractions. The drama will play out Tuesday, July 6, 2010, at 1:30pm EST in Capetown.
Uruguay are the Underdogs
Uruguay enters the semifinal as the underdog in this match after advancing through one of the easier groups. Netherlands does not have players unavailable because of injury but Arjen Robben is coming off of a pulled hamstring suffered at in the last tune up match before the beginning of the tournament.
Strategy is Key
Uruguay will try to challenge the Dutch in the midfield and limit Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben’s effectiveness. Van Marwijk banned the use of Twitter by the team during the tournament and has managed to keep the team pulling together.
Changes to the Dutch Lineup
The Dutch enter the semi-final with two players out due to yellow cards. Fucile received his second yellow card of the tournament during the quarterfinal match and has to sit out the semifinal. Defender Jorge Fucile and forward Luis Suarez will both be out because of disciplinary action. The target, to be crowned champions, is not yet achieved.”
Uruguay will also be without 21-year-old star midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro because of an injured foot. Despite their weak group, the team’s tough character and stifling defense have been showcased in each of their matches so far in the tournament.
History Exerts Pressure
The only sources of pressure on Uruguay going into the current match-up stem from being the only remaining South American team in the tournament, and the specter of their rich history having won the first World Cup in 1930 and again in 1950. Netherlands also has the added pressure of having built a reputation of being the best team never to win a World Cup. Going into the match, the Dutch will be the favorite and this will put more pressure on them.
Uruguay has built their confidence throughout group play and have shown flashes of brilliant attacking play throughout the tournament so far. Uruguay’s team captain, defender Diego Lugano will be a game time decision as he fights to recover from an injured knee.
Netherlands On a Roll
Netherlands comes into the match with a perfect record in international matches over the last 2 years. The combination of coming of the emotion of upsetting the Brazilians and the added pressure of coming up empty in 8 World Cup appearances may give the Uruguayans a psychological advantage.
Dutch Coach Limiting Distractions
Traditionally, the Dutch team has been volatile with lots of internal conflicts
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