Both Netherlands and Uruguay will have to make do without several players due to suspensions and injuries...South American outfit Uruguay lock horns with European powerhouse Netherlands on Tuesday evening in the first semi-final of the 2010 World Cup. However, both sides will have to make do without the services of some key players due to injuries and suspensions. Here's who will miss what would have the been most important match in their career so far and what this means for their side's tactical plans.
Suspended: Jorge Fucile, Luis Suarez
Injured: Nicolas Lodeiro, Diego Lugano (doubtful), Diego Godin (doubtful)
The Charruas will have to make do without attacker Luis Suarez following the Ajax star's dismissal in the dying seconds of Uruguay's quarter-final against Ghana. The tricky forward's absence will be a huge blow for head coach Oscar Tabarez. Suarez has so far scored three goals and set up two more. The 23-year-old striker will probably be replaced by veteran forward Sebastian Abreu on Tuesday. The latter netted the winning spot kick against Ghana after coming off the bench and will be eager to prove his worth for the full 90 minutes. Additionally, full-back Jorge Fucile will be unavailable on Tuesday after picking up his second booking of the tournament against Ghana. The Porto defender has been an important player for Uruguay so far, but Andres Scotti or Jose Caceres would be worthy replacements for Fucile.
On the injury front, Tabarez will be sweating over the fitness of skipper Diego Lugano. The highly rated centre-back was forced to leave the pitch in the first half of the game against Ghana due to injury. Lugano has been working hard to return to full match fitness ever since, but it remains doubtful whether the Fenerbahce star will make it in time. Scotti came off the bench to replace Lugano against Ghana and the experienced defender appears to be the first in line to make it into the starting XI if Lugano doesn't play. Furthermore, Diego Godin missed the match against Ghana due to injury and it looks unlikely that he will return to the team for the match against Netherlands. Mauricio Victorino is likely to replace him again. Finally, Nicolas Lodeiro has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament due to injury. The young playmaker has mainly been warming the bench this tournament, but his creativity will be missed if Uruguay need to break down the Dutch defence should they fall behind.
Suspended: Nigel de Jong, Gregory van der Wiel
Injured: Robin van Persie (doubtful), Joris Mathijsen (doubtful)
Oranje coach Bert van Marwijk will have to make do without the services of midfield bully Nigel de Jong on Tuesday following the Manchester City midfielder's booking against Brazil. The former Ajax and Hamburg star has been an integral part of the Netherlands side so far and his absence could cause the Dutch some problems against Uruguay. Demy de Zeeuw is likely to replace De Jong in midfield, but the Ajax player is a different type of player to De Jong. De Zeeuw tends to charge forward more than De Jong, while he isn't exactly a tough tackler either. Stijn Schaars would possibly be a better option, but the AZ midfielder has so far failed to make an impact wearing the Oranje jersey. Ibrahim Afellay also has the qualities to play in a holding midfield position, but Van Marwijk will probably deem the PSV skipper to be too attack minded. Furthermore, right back Gregory van der Wiel will also miss the match due to suspension. The youngster has been in impressive form this World Cup, but his absence shouldn't be too much of a problem. Khalid Boulahrouz proved to be a reliable replacement in the last match of the group stage against Cameroon and will probably start in Van der Wiel's position against Uruguay.
On the injury front, Robin van Persie and Joris Mathijsen are both short of full match fitness. The Arsenal striker picked up an elbow injury in the 2-1 quarter-final win against Brazil and underwent a scan on Sunday to determine the extent of the injury. The scan revealed no serious damage though and Van Persie is likely to start against the Charruas. If not, Klaas Jan Huntelaar will be an excellent replacement up front. Finally, Joris Mathijsen missed the clash with Brazil due to a knee injury and it was feared that the HSV defender's tournament would be over. However, somewhat surprisingly, Mathijsen returned to full training action on Sunday and the former AZ star is expected to return to the starting XI on Tuesday. Free agent Andre Ooijer proved to be a reliable replacement against the Selecao on Friday and will be ready to fill in for Mathijsen again if needed.