Uruguay have had an amazing tournament, but they are going to have to pull something special out of the fire to make it to the final.
Not only are they missing the man who pretty much got them here, Luis Suarez, but they have problems at the back with Jorge Fucile suspened and Diego Lugano really struggling with injury.
Those two could be more of a loss because it is their strength in defence that allows them to work so well in a 4-4-2, a formation that I am not a fan of and one that has been pilloried at this World Cup.
But Uruguay are working it well. They get the ball forward, let Diego Forlan and I guess in this instance Edinson Cavani or Sebastien Abreu do their thing and they do like to play some expansive stuff. I don't think they are as defensive as people make out and they deserve the luck they have had along the way.
Saurez's absence will put more on the shoulders of Forlan, but from what we have seen so far, he will probably cope. He's just a top, top player, simple as that. We all know the journey he has been on since leaving Manchester United and what Holland are up against is a man at the top of his game.
Is there a more in-form player at this tournament than Wesley Sneijder? What a season the lad has had. It has been unbelievable and he just seems to be getting better and better. He might have started off slowly, but those goals against Brazil were coming - and you wonder what they will do for him.
Quotes of the week
He is their main man, he takes all the set pieces and we know he can score goals. And he seems to be the one man who has mastered this Jabulani, so if Mark van Bommel wants to keep making those fouls he always seems to, he might well be made to pay.
Yet if Uruguay have Forlan, is there a more in-form player at this tournament than Wesley Sneijder? What a season the lad has had. It has been unbelievable and he just seems to be getting better and better. He might have started off slowly, but those goals against Brazil were coming - and you wonder what they will do for him.
That win, coming from behind the way they did, means Holland have those vital ingredients you need for tournament football: momentum and belief.
Momentum is a word that gets over-used at times, but imagine how that dressing room is feeling going into a semi-final of the World Cup having just beaten the world champions? It will make all the difference to this Dutch side especially, because we have all been looking for them to implode - and they usually have by now!
The one man I am still waiting to see at his best is Robin van Persie. I just don't think he has been quite at it so far, which has been the one downside for them. But having Arjen Robben back has compensated for that as we saw against Brazil.
He may be a bit hit and miss, but his sheer pace and presence means defenders can't squeeze up. We know he is going to cut in on his right foot, but he still does it and whoever takes over from Fucile at left-back for Uruguay is going to have to have the game of his life to nullify Robben.
But then they still have to contend with the less spectacular side of this Dutch team. Dirk Kuyt may not be the most technically gifted player they've got, but his work ethic as a team player, lets those other three I have mentioned go out and do their thing.
The same goes for van Bommel. He just sits there, senses danger and gets himself in the right position. And he gets away with murder when it comes to referees, he really does! How he never gets himself even booked is beyond me; I guess you would have to call them 'clever fouls' and although it's easy to laugh, he is incredibly effective... just ask Brazil!
Holland win - I don't think for a minute this is going to be comfortable and the way this World Cup has been going, you wouldn't bat an eyelide if Uruguay pulled this off. I think it will be incredibly tight and would back Holland by the odd goal, possibly 1-0. I just wonder whether Uruguay used all their luck up in that Ghana game and with those injuries and suspensions, it will need something special - and an off-day for Holland - for them to get through. The Dutch have promised so much in the past, but never delivered. Now is their chance.
Wesley Sneijder - He seems to be getting better and better by the game, on the back of a fantastic season with Inter. He plays in that position that players love, but is one of the few at these finals that has made a real impact there. Having Van Bommel behind him as insurance helps, but you still have to know what's going on behind you, in front of you, and out wide, while also focussing on getting yourself into goalscoring positions. Sneijder has mastered all that and I still think there might be more to come.
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William Maclean (Chelsea fan) says...
What a pity that the commentators persist with the incorrect pronunciation of so many names. Kuyt - is NOT Cowt. It should sound more like Kate. Sneider is NOT Schneider. It is Snayder. The "van" in Dutch is pronounced as fun not van. It shows great disprespect if people do not even attempt to pronounce a name correctly. You cannot anglisise names!
Posted 06:05 7th July 2010
Oliver Berlie (Montpellier fan) says...
This guy knows his stuff. Well done on this Forlan and Wesley prediction. Merci!
Posted 22:21 6th July 2010
Taiyub Shafieq (Arsenal fan) says...
Brilliant article Jamie, and I agree with youir analysis of the game that the Dutch will win, however, i think they will win this game by a big margin something like 3-0, due to the confidence that the Brazil win will have given them, rather than scraping through as they have been doing so far.
Posted 18:26 6th July 2010
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