Fresh from an impressive win over Brazil, Bert van Marwijk’s Holland represent the toughest challenge yet for Uruguay, the sole South American representatives in the last four after a fairly devastating weekend for the continent.
The Dutch team are strong favourites to progress to the final, but tough bouts against Ghana and South Korea show that the Celeste are no pushovers. They have a chance, but a remodelled team will have to be at its very best to take down the Oranje.
Five Ways The Celeste Can Get Past Netherlands...
1) Show they can adapt to change
If the prospect of playing Holland with a full team was not daunting enough, Uruguay must do it with a host of first-team players either injured or suspended. The most important absences from the team may include captain and defensive rock Diego Lugano, and suspended goal machine Luis Suarez - although without his cheating/heroics (delete as appropriate) none of the team would be here. Those who come in to replace these talismen must slot in seamlessly to a side which has been an incredible unit all tournament.
2) Get the best out of Diego Forlan
I said it before the Ghana and I do not mind repeating myself: if Diego Forlan repeats his so far excellent form against the Dutch the Charrua will have more than a fighting chance. The striker scored his third goal of the campaign with a stunning free-kick against Ghana, and will play in a more traditional number nine role this time around to compensate for Suarez’s absence.
3) Boss the midfield
It is not unreasonable to say that the seeds of Holland’s victory over Brazil were sown in the fantastic commitment and effort shown by their centre-midfield trio: Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong and Goal.com man of the match Wesley Sneijder. Fortunately, Uruguay have two excellent, in-form battlers in the middle of the park themselves in Diego Perez and Egidio Arevalo. These guys need to play the game of their lives to nullify the Dutch engine room and provide the bullets to Sr. Forlan.
4) Gamble on ‘El Loco’
Every good South American team needs a good old-fashioned wildcard, a player who can either win or lose you a game with a flick of their temperamental boot. Step forward Sebastian ‘El Loco’ Abreu. This 33-year-old veteran has had more clubs than Tiger Woods, and is also renowned being a nightmare to deal with. Two things are not in doubt however: his love for his country, and his ability to score goals, and a return of 14 strikes in 18 games for latest club Botafogo shows the goalscoring touch has not left yet. Could be a worthy gamble coming late off the bench.
5) Prepare for penalties
With these two sides having the two best defences in the tournament, a tight, low-scoring affair is very possible. Uruguay looked incredibly assured and comfortable in dispatching Ghana through this method, while Holland have a fairly indifferent record in past tournaments when it comes to defining games from 12 yards out. In the lottery of penalties you would not want to bet against the steely-nerved Charruas to steal a place in the final and break Dutch hearts.
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