Tuesday, July 06, 2010


In the South America vs. Europe storyline, Europe definitely won the battle over the weekend. Only one South American team survived, and they didn't even beat a European side in the quarterfinals. And that South American team is a bit of a surprise. Two of the three European representatives are also somewhat surprising. So let's look at these matches.

Today 2:30 PM - ESPN
Uruguay vs. Netherlands
Uruguay hasn't advanced this far since the 50s. The Dutch haven't since the 70s. So this is a pretty big deal for both countries. The Uruguayans have been tough, gritty, rugged, determined, and more than a little lucky. They needed several penalty misses in order to beat Ghana. The Dutch, on the other hand, haven't mesmerized, but they have won. They're the only team that's won every single game it's played. They just beat Brazil, and they should trouble Uruguay's worn out defenders with their multifaceted offensive approach. The Uruguayans will also be missing Suarez, the guy who slapped away Ghana's would-be-game-winning-goal. Without him, it's really only the 31 year old Forlan up front, and he's looked increasingly tired. Netherlands 3, Uruguay 1.

Wednesday 2:30 PM - ESPN
Germany vs. Spain
A rematch of the Euro 2008 title game. The Germans are in their 3rd straight World Cup semifinal, and 10th overall. The Spanish are in their first ever semifinal. Which is stunning to the casual fan. You'd think Spain would get into the final four more often, but until they won Euro 2008, they had a reputation as underachievers and chokers. And they have underachieved at this tournament a bit, they've just been able to eek out the results. And Germany has overachieved, or rather has gotten the absolute maximum from their talent. But they've shown gaps. And they'll miss the suspended Thomas Müller, who's scored 4 of their 13 goals.

The Germans will still test Spain, and put them under pressure. Spain's had to deal with some stifling defensive tactics (Switzerland, Portugal, Paraguay), which is probably why they haven't looked that stellar. Germany has a solid defense, but they play forward and aggressive. Germany will need to finish their chances and hope for another early lead. I'm picking Spain, but hoping I'm wrong. 3-2 Spain.

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