S American hopefuls to face the Dutch in semi-final

Monday, July 5, 2010
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The only South American survivors in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Uruguay, will face the Netherlands in a semi-final clash in Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday.

Uruguay advanced to the last four following a controversial Luis Suarez hand ball on the goal- line in the dying minutes of extra time in the quarter-final against Ghana.

And, for their part, the Oranje caused a stir last Friday when they defeated five-time World champions, Brazil 2-1 in their last eight match, at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

Ranked number 16 in the FIFA World rankings, Uruguay will come into this crucial match as the underdogs. The fourth-ranked Dutch team was booted out in the World Cup semi-finals by both Germany and Argentina in 1974 and 1978 respectively.

The Netherlands is on a 24-match unbeaten run and is in its first World Cup semi-final since 1998 in France, when it lost on penalties to Brazil.

Uruguay won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, but last reached a semifinal in 1970 when the team finished in fourth place.

Although, Suarez will miss out on this important encounter, the South American side can still upset the Dutch with their star striker, Diego Forlan, who has scored three goals at this tournament.

The Oranje head coach, Bert Van Marwijk and Oscar Tabarez of Uruguay will have to make changes to their starting line-ups due to suspensions and injuries.

Uruguay defender, Jorge Fucile received a one match ban after picking up a second yellow card against Ghana, while central defender Diego Godin, who missed the quarter-final as a result of a left thigh problem, remains doubtful.

The team's skipper, Diego Lugano who sustained a right knee ligament during their hard-fought victory against the Black Stars, is still battling to be fit. On the other hand, Van Marwijk will have to restructure his defence which at times has been called sloppy.

Gregory van der Wiel and defensive midfielder, Nigel de Jong are both on suspension after collecting their second yellow cards during their match against Brazil.

Joris Mathijsen was declared fit to play this crucial semi-final match. Mathijsen recovered from a knee injury that saw him missing out on the quarter-finals.

With four goals to his name, sensational Dutch midfielder, Wesley Sneijder who scored two goals to send Brazil home, is also expected to cause a bit of havoc for Uruguay.

The kick-off of this semi-final match is 20:30.

The other semi-final match will be between European champions, Spain and Germany at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday at 20:30.

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