World Cup: Semifinal 1 Recap and Semifinal 2 Preview

Written by Soccer, Sports

Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands

Usually in soccer, the phrase “Let the old defender who played for years in Scotland shoot from distance” is a good defensive strategy. But for Uruguay, it backfired. Thankfully for them, the Netherlands’ approach was “Let’s leave the best player in the tournament wide-open 30 yards out.” Funny how nobody is complaining about the Jabulani ball today (except goalkeepers, whose opinions should never be sought on these matters).

Robin van Persie was in an offside position on Wesley Sneijder’s goal, and, by being in the path of the ball, was involved in the play. But once the ball deflected off two Uruguayan defenders, the question of offside was moot. On ESPN, neither Ian Darke nor John Harkes noticed it because they were focused on van Persie’s position. Arjen Robben’s third goal shouldn’t have been needed, but that’s what separates the great teams from the good. The good teams look to protect a one-goal lead, while the great teams go for the insurance. Fortunately for them, they did score because of Maxi Pereira’s cleverness in stoppage time.

But without Luis Suarez today, it was impossible for Uruguay to create outside of Diego Forlan’s moment of brilliance. As soon as they got into the attacking half, they looked to play the most obvious ball, and Holland could intercept with ease and settle into their possession game. And their outbursts after the final whistle proves my belief that Uruguay are South America’s equivalent of Portugal.

Semifinal 2 Prediction:

I had Spain to win the whole thing. I’ve always been a fan of their style of play and, after their victory in Euro 2008, they were looking more and more like the favorite to finally win the World Cup. But they’ve gotten weaker in the past few games, barely breaking down Portugal and Paraguay. Germany, on the other hand, have just gotten stronger in the past week, proving that the loss to Serbia was merely an aberration. As much as I would love to see a Spain v. Holland Final, I just don’t see it happening.

Prediction: Germany 2, Spain 1