Much like in my preview of the quarterfinal, I will not be handicapping this Netherlands match. As a lifelong fan of the Netherlands who suddenly finds his team within reach of glory, I dare not make predictions.
I can analyze ad nauseam, though, and I will.
Most people never think about Uruguay...why would you? The tiny piece of land is home to only 3.5 million inhabitants and resembles a sliver stuck between the toes of the much larger Argentina or Brazil. ‚ The country is known for three things: Green tea, cattle, and soccer.
Before the tournament began, I told fellow Worldview blogger that the injury to Michael Ballack was a blessing in disguise for Germany. "Now they've no superstars," I said, "and they don't have to play to Ballack's strengths or make adjustments to get him into a game."
Unlike the other soccer giants, the Netherlands is but a small, waterlogged country. Still, they punch well above their weight. When they lose, the go out with a bang, and their victor is so drained, it rarely clears the next round.
In 2006, Argentina and Germany held a civilized contest that ended ignominiously in penalties, and then, even more ignominiously, in a full-on on-field brawl. Two Argentinians and one German were punished.