Heading into Tuesday’s semifinal match, The South American Cinderellas (Uruguay) will be without their co-leading goal-scorer, forward Luis Suarez. He was given a red card in extra-time against Ghana for his handball, which prevented a possible game-winning goal (watch here).
Once again, we are all forced to listen to the same song; referees and FIFA’s rules costing countries opportunities. “Awarding” Ghana with a penalty kick after their should-have-been-goal is like having a basketball team shoot free-throws after a goal-tending violation. The right call would have been to award Ghana with the goal.
By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta
Ultimately, Uruguay is the team that will move on to face the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, who defeated World Cup favorites Brazil.
Along with Suarez, Uruguay will also be without full-back Jorge Fucile (on yellow card suspension) and substitute midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro (broken foot). They may also be without captain defender Diego Lugano (knee injury) and defender Diego Godin (thigh injury). Uruguay may have to form open try-outs, reminiscent of The Replacements.
Here are some key notes heading into Tuesday’s game:
- With the suspension of Luis Suarez, the electric forward Diego Forlan will be relied upon that much more for Uruguay. Look for Uruguay to get him touches early and often. It will be primarily Netherlands’ defender John Heitinga’s assignment to contain Forlan.
- The back-line of Uruguay has only conceded a measly two goals in the entire tournament thus far. However, one has to wonder if the defensive dominance by Uruguay has been legitimate or misleading as they have faced an “easier” path to get to this point. It’s hard to be impressed with wins over South Korea and Ghana, especially when the opponent had to beat the best team in the world, Brazil. One thing is certain; Uruguay’s defense will be put to the test against the striking dynamos of the Netherlands: Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Dirk Kuyt and Robin Van Persie. This will be an extra tall order considering they will likely be without two of their starting defenders.
- The Netherlands are a possession soccer team, while Uruguay likes to sit back defensively and wait for the right opportunity to counterattack. The contrast of styles will make for an entertaining match. It will be interesting to see if Uruguay changes their strategy with the suspension of Suarez.
Predicting the outcome of a sporting event is one of the more irrelevant things one can do, especially when it’s this late in a tournament, where anything can happen. Having said all of that, I think the Netherlands will prove to be too much for the depleted Uruguay squad. Holland adds to their 24-game unbeaten streak, winning 2-0 and advancing to the finals to face either Spain or Germany in an all-European match-up. This would be unprecedented, as no European team has ever won the World Cup outside of Europe.
Read more articles by Justin Mertes-Mistretta here.
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