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The quarter-finals begin!

Right everyone, this is where it gets serious - it's quarter-finals time. And what a way for them to start with Netherlands and Brazil meeting in a heavyweight encounter. These two sides have produced three memorable meetings in past World Cups, and once again boast impressive sides packed with talent.

The day's second game is most certainly the battle to be the tournament's dark horse. With Uruguay winning Group A and USA winning Group C, that half of the draw had a slightly unusual look. What you cannot deny, however, is how impressive Uruguay and Ghana have been so far. Both sides are based on a sound defensive game, but have also been proven to be dangerous in the attacking third. A place in the last four awaits.

Today's Schedule

Netherlands - Brazil Friday, July 2, 2010 - 16:00 local time
  • Preview: This is the 16th time in 19 World Cups that Brazil have reached the last eight
  • This is the tenth meeting of these two sides - Brazil have won three and the Dutch two
  • Netherlands have kept four clean sheets in their last eight World Cup matches
  • Preview: These two sides have never met each other on the international stage
  • The last time Uruguay reached this stage was back in 1970
  • Ghana are bidding to be the first African nation ever to make it into the last four
Five Players To Watch Today

Keep an eye out for these ones...


His return against Slovakia on Monday showed his value to the team, scoring the opening goal and proving a handful throughout. He's enjoyed a wonderful season at Bayern Munich and will be keen to test Michel Bastos with his diagonal darts infield.

Maligned at club level with Manchester City, Robinho is a different animal in the yellow of his country. His skill and invention from the left side of the team's attack has been joy to watch and he is a key component of their ferocious counter-attacks. Scored a delightful goal against Chile and looks at ease with himself again.

A juggernaut of a player, Maicon follows in a great tradition of Brazilian attacking full-backs. His strength and power are combined with an audacity that makes him so dangerous. As was evidenced against Chile, even pressing high up the field cannot stem his forays forward.
Kevin Prince BOATENG

Having not enjoyed the most harmonious club career, it's probably no surprise that little was expected of Boateng at this summer's tournament. However, despite his poor reputation in domestic football, the lively midfielder has been a beacon of commitment and quality for his side. His goal against USA reaffirmed his status as a key team player.

His glut of goals at club have been reinforced by impressive performances on the very biggest stage. Suarez is a versatile forward, capable of playing wide or as a central frontman. The range of goals he scores is also eye-catching, as was the sensational winner against Korea last Saturday. Ghana's resolute defence will have their hands full.

Did You Know...?

Fun Fact:
There was a stage in Kevin Prince Boateng earlier career where he became addicted to consumerism. The Portsmouth midfielder recently admitted that he owns "around 200 caps, around 20 leather jackets and 160 pairs of shoes". At one stage, Boateng even admitted to buying three cars - a Lamborghini, a Hummer and a Cadillac Oldtimer - in a single day. "But it all did not make me happy. I was broken, in another world," the Ghana player admitted. He claims to have since overcome his addiction.


The number of kilometres covered by Brazil's Gilberto Silva so far in the World Cup. That is the highest figure in Dunga's squad, even though the Panathinaikos man is now 33-years-old.
The number of goals that Diego Forlan has scored since leaving his ill-fated spell at Manchester United and moving to Spain. That's allowed him to twice claim the Pichichi trophy for top goalscorer.

What We Saw In The Last Matchday...

Paraguay 0-0 Japan (5-3 pens) (report)

Despite the penalty drama, this was a game that lacked much else. Although rendered a little sterile by both sides' conservative approach, the game did still have its chances. However, with no score after 120 minutes, penalties were required to decide it.

The Paraguayans were faultless from the spot, with Japan's Yuichi Komano hitting the crossbar and allowing Oscar Cardozo to convert the winner. Paraguay will meet Spain in the last eight.

Spain 1-0 Portugal (report)

This was a challenge that many felt Spain may not pass. The Portuguese had been imperious defensively, not conceding a single goal in the group stage. However, David Villa's strike won the game for the Spanish, the Barcelona man once again drifting in front the left side to convert at the second attempt. Having been at fault positionally for the goal, Ricardo Costa then compounded his night by being sent of for thrusting his arm into the side of Joan Capdevilla's head.


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