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A third appearance in the World Cup final is up for grabs. We investigate the best odds...


Kick Off: Tuesday, July 6, 2010. 20:30 CET
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

You would have got sizeable odds on this pair meeting in the semi-finals a few weeks back. Granted, they both have World Cup pedigree and were considered dark horses by many but you would have been brave to have a punt on a Celeste - Oranje semi-final. A third final appearance awaits for the winner.

Uruguay have surpassed all expectations to reach their first semi-final since 1970. A stalemate with France was followed by a 3-0 thumping of South Africa before Mexico and South Korea were put to the sword. Further African misery was heaped on Ghana last time out in a controversial quarter-final notorious for Luis Suarez's handball.

The Ajax striker is suspended tonight and coach Oscar Tabarez will have to do without Diego Lugano and Nicolas Lodeiro. At 7.0 the South Americans are definite outsiders although they will not be deterred by such odds. Just ask Ghana.

Bert van Marwijk's Netherlands saved their best 45 minutes of football for their second half defeat of Brazil. Turning it on after the interval has been a Dutch speciality as they've won five of their last seven games following the break.

Beating Brazil extended the Oranje's unbeaten run to 24 games. Won 19 Drawn five. All five draws were in friendly games with Holland now on a 13-game winning streak in competitive matches. They made history against Brazil to reach their first semi-final since 1998 and are the favourites at 1.59 to create some more and reach the final on Sunday.

Uruguay Tips
Luis Suarez's suspension has caused Oscar Tabarez some serious headaches for tonight's clash. Along with his strike partner Diego Forlan the pair have scored all but one of Uruguay's seven goals. Both have had a total of 20 shots each with Edinson Cavani next up on seven.

Forlan is set to inherit the main striker role in addition to taking corners, free-kicks and penalties. He is by far his side's best bet to score a goal tonight.

* Diego Forlan to score first/anytime - 7.0/2.75

Botafogo forward Sebastian Abreu is set to replace Suarez and has a decent goalscoring record at international level (26 goals in 58 games). He's played just 60 minutes of football in the World Cup and brings fresh legs and match-winning status after his cheeky 'Panenka' penalty winner against Ghana.

* Sebastian Abreu to score first/anytime - 11.0/5.0

Netherlands Tips
Forget about total football. What matters is winning and the Dutch have excelled at that so far. None more so than Wesley Sneijder, who has bagged four goals and forced more shots (20) than any other player wearing the orange shirt. We saw what he could do in the Champions League and he made all the difference against Brazil. Not bad for a Real Madrid reject eh?

* Wesley Sneijder to score first/anytime - 8.0/3.0

You'll get shorter value on Arjen Robben at 6.50 to score first and 2.50 to score during the 90 minutes. Moody Robin van Persie is 5.0 to score first and 2.10 for anytime. We are still awaiting odds on the Arsenal forward throwing a tantrum...

As we flagged above, the Dutch have performed better in the second half than the first in recent matches. Three of their five World Cup wins so far have been won in the second 45 minutes.

* Netherlands to win second half - 1.86

Extra-time/Penalties
Holland won't have fond memories of their last semi-final appearance in the World Cup where they went out on penalties to Brazil in 1998. Uruguay are still buzzing and will feel luck is on their side after their controversial win over Ghana.

* Netherlands to win in extra-time - 10.0
* Netherlands to win on penalties - 11.0


* Uruguay to win in extra-time - 15.0
* Uruguay to win on penalties - 12.0


Betting Verdict
As impressive as Uruguay have been, the Dutch should get the job done in 90 minutes tonight. The absence of Suarez, combined with the tiredness from the epic with Ghana should bring the South American fairytale to a close tonight. Expect Holland to edge it in the second half.

* Netherlands to win - 1.59  

World Cup semi-finals are rarely high-scoring contests. A quick scan at the record books reveals that just two games from the last six tournaments have gone over 2.5 goals at the semi-final stage.

Goals in World Cup semi-finals including extra-time: 1986 - 4, 1990 - 4, 1994 - 4, 1998 - 5, 2002 - 2, 2006 - 3.

A grand total of 22 goals of which precisely six came in the first half. Three of those were in the Italy - Bulgaria semi in 1994 when Roberto Baggio scored a fabulous brace.

All things considered the following looks sensible:

* Half time draw - 2.10

* Zero goals in first half - 2.20

* Under 2.5 goals over 90 minutes - 1.68


Match Odds: Uruguay 7.24, Draw 3.70, Netherlands 1.59

Local Insight
Wout Stravers, Goal.com Netherlands
"I think it won't be that easy for Holland tonight. Apart the excellent second half against Brazil Holland haven't impressed me with their play against weaker opponents like Denmark, Japan, Cameroon and Slovakia (but I'm happy to live with it when we crown ourselves as champions). Against Uruguay I expect a difficult, slow match. In the end they will celebrate after a scare in the first half (Uruguay goal). Finally Robin van Persie will make sense with a goal."

Prediction: Uruguay - Netherlands 1-2

Odds on Netherlands 2-1 win: 8.50

Robin Bairner, Goal.com International
"It’s the European side who go into this encounter as big favourites, something that is mirrored in the statistics predictor, which gives the Netherlands a 65 per cent chance of progression. Uruguay’s squad is depleted and the opinion of the crowd will also work against them. The Celeste will therefore struggle to make an impression against a Dutch outfit who have looked impressively efficient to this point. Brimming with confidence, expect to see the Oranje in the final.

Prediction: Uruguay 0-2 Netherlands

Odds on Netherlands 2-0 win: 6.50

Goal.com Fans also predict a 2-0 Netherlands win

Match Odds: Uruguay 7.24, Draw 3.70, Netherlands 1.59

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Odds correct at time of publication. Goal.com encourages all readers who bet to do so sensibly.

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