02 Julai 2010


South America versus the world
The headline match of the last eight is the latest rematch between the Netherlands and Brazil, two sides who have already met three times in the competition and have history between them. Of all the big names on show at South Africa 2010, the Dutch have perhaps created the least fuss, quietly going about their job and stringing together four wins in the process. Well-drilled and blessed with a liberal sprinkling of stellar talent, Bert van Marwijk's side now have the challenge of kicking on and fulfilling their promise, so evident during a flawless qualification campaign in which they won all eight of their matches.

Like the Oranje, Brazil also have points to prove, not least where style and flair are concerned. Though both sides are largely pragmatic units these days, meetings between them invariably conjure up wistful recollections of Pele and Johan Cruyff and there should be enough talent on show in Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth on Friday to ensure an enthralling afternoon. In the day's other match, surprise quarter-finalists Uruguay and Ghana face off for the right to meet the Dutch or Brazil. Uruguay, two-time world champions, owe their run to the last eight to their in-form strike force, not to mention a trusty backline. For their part the adventurous Ghanaians have the not inconsiderable incentive of becoming the first African side to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

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