This game is my second favorite semi for a few reasons. I like Uruguay, but they do not provide the flash we hope for at this stage of teh competition and will be missing Luis Suarez after his hand was forced into action in the last gasps of the Ghana game. They have got to be drained after that game and the Dutch are riding high after their performance against Brazil. Diego Forlan is still an amazing player and deserves consideration for the best player in the tournament, but he will need a truly remarkable performance to push Uruguay through. Expect Uruguay to sit back and hope to score on the counter, much like they did against pre-implosion France, because they know they cannot outclass the Dutch in an open game. This will keep them within range the entire game, but will not afford them much comfort at any point. It is going to be rough seas for Uruguay.
On the Dutch side, things could not be much better. They just beat Brazil and now get a far lesser opponent in the next round. They have more talent, are probably better rested, and they have been scoring machines lately. Their defense remains a problem as evidenced by Melo’s ball to Robinho that just carved them wide open, but they are going into a match where they know they will be on the offensive more often than not. I like Robben’s chances on the outside, I like Sneijder’s chances at controlling the midfield and I like van Persie’s chances of pestering the Uruguayan defense. Now all of this does not mean goals will just be flowing for the Dutch. We have seen Uruguay clamp down and when they do it is very hard to put one in the back of the net. The Dutch will need all their patience to win this, but I think they ought to win it.
Picking the score here is tricky. You have a couple possible outcomes to choose from here in which the Dutch come out on top. The first is if Uruguay’s defense is just not what it used to be or is tired, and the Dutch just tear them limb from limb like Germany vs. Argentina. The second possibility is a 2-0 where the Dutch get an early one, and as Uruguay is forced forward, they grab another one. The last possibility is a 1-0 win where they do not get their goal until late and hold on for teh victory. Now, obviously, there are many other options in which Uruguay wins, but I do not see it. I think it is time for the Dutch to advance to the finals where they will meet a team better than they are and lose (late spoiler alert). Orange goes on.
Netherlands 2-0 Uruguay