July 06th, 2010 (2:30 PM)
Uruguay vs. Netherlands
Uruguay – Uruguay reached the semis by surprising many when they won their group which included France, Mexico and South Africa. By doing so, they helped themselves into a much easier bracket; South Korea and Ghana are solid teams with quality but by no means are they top tier. Uruguay’s resurgence into the world’s elite has been mostly due to their stingy defense (2 goals allowed in 5 games) and opportunistic attack. They are coming off an extremely emotional victory against Ghana in penalties, to reach the semis for the first time since 1970, but it came at a heavy price. Luis Suarez saved Uruguay with his goal-line handball, but it earned him a red card and will put even more pressure on Forlan to create scoring chances. Back at the defense, Fucile will also be ineligible, Lodeiro is out with a broken foot and Lugano, their best defender and captain, is doubtful due to injury. The Uruguayans will have a hard time containing the Dutch attack and even harder time scoring.
Netherlands - The Dutch have gone away from their traditionally flashy style of quick passes and attacks which ultimately cost them in later rounds. Rather, they’ve been playing a more tactical, systematic, ball-possession minded game, much like Brazil, but with more efficiency. As Uruguay’s coach Oscar Tabarez put it himself,” This generation is a little different to the traditional Holland – they are a very balanced side. At the back they give nothing away, they link well in midfield, and up front, they have hard-running, technically capable players like Van Bommel, Sneijder and Robben.”And till now, it has been working well with victories in all their matches (Denmark, Japan, Cameroon, Slovakia, Brazil). The Netherlands find themselves in the semis with an impressive victory against favorites Brazil. Each half was a different story though. In the first, the Dutch defense was exposed with speed and quick passing by the Brazilians, while in the second, they closed off spaces more and controlled ball possession and were superior. The Uruguayans may attempt to find the same holes in the Dutch defense, but they lack the same firepower that Brazil had. Ultimately, Netherlands are superior in every sector to Uruguay and will be the favorites to advance to the Final match. They will miss de Jong and Van der Wiel who earned their second yellow card, but will get back Mathijsen and Van Persie has been cleared to play.
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Prediction: Netherlands win.
July 07th, 2010 (2:30 PM)
Germany vs. Spain
Germany - Dayum. I mean, really, damn. Did you see that methodical dismantling of Argentina and England? Are the German’s attack (World Cup leading 13 goals) the best out there with Klose, Podolski, Mueller and Oezil? Can the Germans be giddy with their teams for this year and years to come? To all of these questions, the answer is yes. They looked amazingly good. Scary good. World Cup winning good. They’ve been playing like Brazil played in the past, while Brazil was playing like Germany did in the past. Their defense is solid at the back with Friedrich, Lahm and Mertesacker. At midfield, Schweinsteiger has shined as the one responsible for setting up the counter-attack and getting the ball to the strikers. And once that counter-attack gets going, pray, because that four-player combo has looked unstoppable. What’s the catch? Mueller got his second and he’ll be out. How much will he be missed? A bit, but the Germans do have enough pieces to replace him with Trochowski, Cacau, Gomez. It”ll all depend on what changes, if at all, Coach Loew makes to his team tactically.
Spain - I personally am rooting for a Netherlands x Spain Final, that way we’d have a guaranteed first time champion (Uruguay has won twice, Germany has won three times). Spain, in recent years, have been trying to shake off their choking reputation. And except for that early slip up against the Swiss, they have, earning their first ever trip to the semis. They’re coming off of wins against Portugal and Paraguay, two of the best defenses in the World Cup this year and while their offense hasn’t produced the same numbers as the Germans, the threat still is there. In all games, the Spaniards dominated the midfield, with Iniesta, Xavi and Alonso, keeping much of the ball possession. Though in the attack, Torres will most likely be benched due to poor performances, Villa has been lighting it up leading the World Cup in goals with 5 of Spain’s 6. The real test will be how well will the back four hold up the German attack. Puyol & Co. will have their hands full and how well they perform could decide the match. Are the Germans the favorites? Yes. Can Spain beat them? They have the talent to do so.
Prediction: Spain win.
- World Cup 2010, Round of 16 Preview
- World Cup 2010: Quarterfinals Preview
- World Cup 2010 Preview, Group E