Here we go. Uruguay needed an intentional handball plus a penalty miss to get to the semis. The Dutch got through Brazil and have won all of their matches. The key for the Uruguayans is to defend for their lives and hope they can have an effective counter-attack with Diego Forlan. No Luis Suarez today for obvious reasons so let’s see how that changes their tactics. For the Dutch they better not be overconfident and take the Uruguayans lightly. Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder run that offense and the latter won the game against Brazil. If they’re clicking and the defense doesn’t fall apart like they did early in their last match then they should win this and advance to the final.
My prediction is 3-0 Netherlands with a goal from Robin Van Persie, and two from Arjen Robben. Check back in 45 minutes for the live blog. Winner goes to the final while the loser plays for 3rd.
Lineups courtesy of the BBC:
Uruguay: 1-Fernando Muslera; 3-Diego Godin, 6-Mauricio Victorino, 5-Walter Gargano, 16-Maximiliano Pereira, 22-Martin Caceres, 15-Diego Perez, 11-Alvaro Pereira, 17-Egidio Arevalo, 7-Edinson Cavani, 10-Diego Forlan.
Netherlands: 1-Maarten Stekelenburg; 12-Khalid Boulahrouz, 3-John Heitinga, 4-Joris Mathijsen, 5-Giovanni van Bronckhorst; 7-Dirk Kuyt, 6-Mark van Bommel, 10-Wesley Sneijder, 14-Demy de Zeeuw, 11-Arjen Robben; 9-Robin van Persie.
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan).
So Cavani will partner up with Forlan up front in place of the suspended Suarez, while ancient Andre Ooijer avoids emergency starting duties again.
11:22 AM – 8 minutes to kickoff. The smallest nation left in the World Cup is also the last South American side in the tournament. Can they pull off another Houdini act and knock out the Dutch? Can’t wait.
1st – We’re underway in the first semifinal of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
3rd – Slow start to this one but Uruguay are venturing into the Dutch half. Crowd is overwhelmingly Dutch, and considering South Africa’s colonial history, that’s not a shock.
4th – Robben moves in from the winger position, goalkeeper Muslera has a horrible punch right to Dirk Kuyt, but his Liverpool days are showing as he managed to blast it just over the bar.
5th – Does John Harkes ONLY focus on the mental aspect of the game? He’s like a fricking shrink out there.
10th – Uruguay all over the place on defense, clearing a cross straight to Kuyt, his next cross finds Robben’s head but it goes straight up in the air and down to the arms of the goalkeeper.
12th – Diego Forlan is whistled for offside. That is onside. INSTANT REPLAY PLEASE!!!
13th – That was wild. Wesley Sneijder has a crack from long range but it hits Robin Van Persie. Meanwhile Diego Forlan is completely unmarked at the far post for Uruguay but this time he actually is offside.
18th – GOAL FOR HOLLAND!!!! GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST JUST FIRED ONE FROM 40 YARDS FROM THE LEFT SIDE OF MIDFIELD AND IT JUST FLEW IN!!!!! THE DEFENDER SCORES!!!! 1-0 to the Dutch.
20th – Ian Darke just called the shot a firecracker. I love Ian Darke’s commentary.
21st – Dumb and dangerous foul by Maxi Pereira earns him a yellow card. Free kick is wasted by Robben.
25th – John Harkes has tried so hard this tournament to be funny, when in actuality it is he who is the joke.
28th – The Uruguayans and Dutch are pushing and shoving over a high boot from Martin Caceres which hit Demy De Zeeuw flush in the face. He’s just gotten up and still looks dazed.
30th – Caceres has been given a yellow card….maybe for a dive afterwards because Sneijder pushed him. I think Sneijder has been booked as well in the process. This game could get ugly.
31st – Great first touch by Robin Van Persie along with a great ball sets up Arjen Robben on goal, but a great challenge by Caceres prevents the Dutch from going 2-0 up.
33rd – Uruguay is getting booed by the crowd for their theatrics and diving. Don’t think they’re a team anyone is rooting for after the Ghana game.
36th – Alvaro Pereira tries his luck from 25 yards. It’s a tame shot and an easy save made by Steklenburg.
39th – Forlan’s half-chance header goes over the bar.
41st – GOAL FOR URUGUAY!!!! DIEGO FORLAN DOES IT AGAIN!!!!! He was given space to shoot and decided to go for it himself and Stecklenburg could only tip it into the net. Some of it is Forlan brilliance but that’s a bad GK error. Poor positioning.
45th – Stoppage time. We’ll have two minutes of it.
45th +1 – Dirk Kuyt sees his header go wide and he was offside anyway. On the replay…he’s onside. They’re just messing with us now.
Halftime – URUGUAY 1 NETHERLANDS 1
That was fun.
46th – 2nd half has begun.
50th – What the heck just happened? Khalid Boulahrouz makes a suicidal backpass, forcing Steklenburg to come out of his penalty area to take the ball away from Edinson Cavani, he can’t get it completely away and Pereira has his shot cleared a few yards off the line by Van Bronckhorst. Wild scenario leads to a corner which amounts to nothing.
55th – Wesley Sneijder’s free kick is flicked on by a Dutch player only for it to go straight out of play for a goal kick.
61st – Holland look very nervous. Uruguay are taking the game to them.
64th – Fittingly Uruguay were stuck in their own half for 3 minutes. Fortunately for them Holland could not construct a decent chance on goal.
67th – Free kick for Forlan….good save by Steklenburg. It was going in and he palmed it away.
68th – Robin Van Persie lays it back for Rafael Van Der Vaart, who was subbed in for De Zeeuw earlier (I missed that), has a clear shot on goal saved brilliantly by Muslera…..it comes right to Robben who scuffs the shot. Wasted chance.
70th – GOAL FOR HOLLAND!!!! What happened there? Wesley Sneijder gets his 4th goal of the tournament in a bizarre manner. I think his shot inside the penalty are may have hit a Uruguayan defender, and it found its way in the net. From the looks of things Robin Van Persie may have gotten a touch on the way through as well. I think Van Persie was offside on the replay and if he didn’t touch it he still interfered with the play by going for the ball. Major tlaking point but the goal stands when it easily could have been ruled out.
73rd – GOAL FOR HOLLAND!!! No controversy about this one. Arjen Robben just clinched a ticket to the final, surely. Perfect header off the post and in. 3-1 Holland.
77th – Sebastian Abreu has come on for Alvaro Pereira. Uruguay need a miracle now.
80th – 10 minutes to go. An all-Europe final is nearing.
82nd – Dirk Kuyt dives and the referee doesn’t buy it. Good.
84th – Sebastian Fernandez is on for the magnificent Diego Forlan. Hope to see him in the 3rd place match.
87th – Beautiful throughball to Arjen Robben, one-on-one with the goalkeeper…shot is tame and saved.
89th – Uruguay are pressing for one more goal but can’t find it. Meanwhile Eljero Elia will come on for Arjen Robben.
90th – GOAL FOR URUGUAY! We’re into stoppage time and Maxi Pereira caught the Dutch napping. We have ourselves a finish. 90 seconds left at a minimum.
93rd – CHANCE FOR AREVALO RIOS IS BLOCKED!!! THAT COULD BE IT!!!! No the referee has not blown his final whistle. We’re still going.
95th – That’s it!!!!!! WHAT A GAME!!!! HOLLAND ARE THROUGH TO THE WORLD CUP FINAL!!!! Just barely. Oh no there’s a scuffle going on. Come on Uruguay….
That’s it from me, I’ll likely sit Germany/Spain out but will be back for the final. For the record I like the Germans to win the game 2-1.
Netherlands 3 Uruguay 2