Now then, it’s time for some Semi-final predictions. Now that Germany has thrashed another opponent, and for the third time this World Cup scored four goals in a game, they will face pre-tournament favourites Spain, who have struggled thus far to put in an impressive performance in any of their games.
The other matchup features Two time World Champions Uruguay, who are now the only South American team left in the tournament after Brazil and Argentina crashed out, against the inventors of Total Football, the Dutch who showed they can go down and come back with fighting spirit as they knocked off the Samba Boys.
Last round my predictions were almost spot on, picking three out of four winning teams correctly. Uruguay, Spain and Germany all went through, while the Netherlands upset my Brazil to book their place in the final four. Going 75% was a big improvement, but let’s see if I can keep it going this round.
If you were listening to CKDU Sports today, you heard my predictions on air with Bill Mclean, but for the rest of the world, here we go with my predictions for the semi-finals:
Uruguay 0 – 2 Netherlands
This is by far the tougher of the two matches to pick a winner and it features a defensively responsible team in Uruguay, against a patient Netherlands team who is more than willing to sit back and wait to pick apart their opponent bit by bit.
The Dutch fell behind early to Brazil, but instead of breaking apart like they have in the past, they used a game-turning save by their keeper to gain momentum and beat the five-time world champions. Their execution and pin-point passing was spot on and they looked incredibly strong in their play.
Uruguay needed penalties to barely squeeze by an inspired Ghana side, which more than deserved to win the match. A handball by Luis Suarez in the final moments of extra time was the only reason they booked themselves into the final four, and without their leading goal scorer they will have to rely even more on Diego Forlan.
The strength in midfield for the Dutch will be the key to this match and both Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder will be relied on heavily to both control the pace of the match and create chances on the attack.
In the end, the quality of the Dutch team will shine through and after a first-half goal gives them the lead, they’ll score a late second half goal to secure their spot in the finals and one win away from their first World Cup.
Key Netherlands Player – Arjen Robben
Key Uruguay Player – Diego Forlan
Spain 1 – 4 Germany
I know what you’re all thinking, four goals against Spain by Germany? You must be crazy!
But let’s look at the teams not just on paper, but in form and the recent performances both teams have put together.
Germany destroyed Australia in their first match, but got set back by Serbia in a 1-nil loss, however, since that game the young Germans have not looked back and each game has seen them get stronger and stronger. The combination of Miroslav Klose’s experience and the influx of speed and creativity by Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil, has seen the easy destruction of both England and Argentina.
Spain has yet to impress me in this World Cup, a pre-tournament favourite to lift the Jules Rime Trophy, but the team has failed to show any interest in winning while in South Africa. However, this team has made it into the semi-final’s without showing anything exciting, an optimist would say that it’s only a matter of time for Spain to find their game and play the way they can, but a realist must look at the team and say, that maybe, just maybe, this team doesn’t believe in itself anymore.
The play of Fernando Torres has been dismal to say the least, and the manager’s insistence on sticking with the out-of-form striker is as baffling as the loss of his scoring touch.
The only reason Spain is in the finals is the fantastic play of David Villa and one crucial save by Iker Casillas, who made the save of the tournament when he stopped the Oscar Cordozo penalty shot in their last match.
The Germans are inspired, full of belief and already have one foot in the door and now find themselves against a lacklustre Spanish side that played like they were already going home against Paraguay.
This Germany side has left pundits wondering if they’re lucky or just that good, but yes, they are just that good. Eight goals in two games against England and Argentina shows how lethal they are in front of goal, their ability to counter in a moment and the passing of their midfield shuts out their opponents from the match.
Keep in mind that Klose is just one goal behind All-Time World Cup goal scorer Ronaldo and leads all-time goals from headers, and you’ve got one inspired player that is SURELY going to hit the back of the net once today.
Easy win for the Germans today and if we’re lucky, that sets up an exciting Netherlands – Germany finals.
Man of the Match: Miroslav Klose