The morning will start early for many soccer fans, as the World Cup quarterfinals kick off with one of the biggest matches possible.
Netherlands vs. Brazil - 8:00am MT -ESPN
The pre-tournament favorites Brazil will face a very lethal Oranje side that want to claim their first ever World Cup title, this could be one of the more exciting matches of the tournament as I expect both sides to play a open and attacking style. Talent runs deep on both squads, as some of the biggest names in the game will fill out the starting XI's for each team.
SB Nation Exclusive Content:
Netherlands Team Site and Team Guide
Brazil Team Site and Team Guide
Blog Post: Where We Stand:Quarterfinal Preview
"Taking on Brazil is a tremendous challenge for us, but we're staying focused on achieving our objective, which is the world title. The Brazilians have a mature and solid team, who give off a positive type of arrogance: an air of invincibility. For the first time, the Netherlands are going into a game as underdogs," Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands coach.
"It's hard for Brazil or the Netherlands to sit back. They play a similar game to us: they like to take the initiative. Quarter-final games are always very cagey and sometimes get bogged down. We'll be trying to score a goal in the first half so we can play with a bit more freedom," Juan, Brazil defender.
We usually don't make promises, but this time, we're looking at history. Whenever Holland and Brazil meet in a World Cup match you get something special.
In 1974 Johan Neeskens and Johan Cruyff scored second half goals to carry Holland to a 2-0 victory over Brazil and into the World Cup final. That was the first of two straight final appearances for the Clockwork Orange. They lost both, helping to cement their reputation as the best team never to win it all. It also marks the last time that the Netherlands have managed to handle the Brazilians in Cup play.
"It's a world football classic," Robinho said, and the Selecao hope it follows a familiar pattern as they chase their 11th semifinal appearance and sixth title.
Brazil beat the Netherlands 3-2 in the 1994 quarterfinals en route to the title, then eliminated the Dutch in penalties in the 1998 semis before losing to host France in the final.
That doesn't mean the Brazilians are taking those results for granted, especially with the Oranje unbeaten in their last 23 matches.
Well with these two teams it is hard to pick a loser, as both teams are quality teams and you simply never know which side will come out on top. I have to go with my heart on this one and say "GO Oranje"
more after the jump:
A match up of two teams that nobody expected to make it this far, Uruguay and Ghana. You have to believe that once again Ghana will have the home field advantage or the home continent advantage.
Uruguay vs. Ghana - 12:30pm MT - ESPN
A battle between South America and Africa, and while I want to cheer for Uruguay, I have to cheer for Ghana the team that eliminated the US. Both sides have some great players but more importantly is the way these two teams play together as teams, it means this one should be a real battle.
SB Nation Exclusive Content:
Uruguay Team Site and Team Guide
Ghana Team Site and Team Guide
"They are fast, strong, and they have done well in other games, even against Germany," Diego Forlan, Uruguay forward.
"They have a great team, especially in attack. This is what we have to watch out for because they have players like Forlan and Suarez," Asamoah Gyan, Ghana striker.
Ghana must bring the kind of relaxed confidence they showed against the United States. This will be tough: Uruguay is a much better opponent than the USA. So, the Africans would do well to review their game tape against Germany; there they created opportunities in that one that they did not finish. They need to learn from that, and convert the chances they have.
Uruguay must avoid playing a defensive style. It's in their DNA: Oscar Tabarez' teams love to stay back, but they have been so much better when going forward this tournament. Also keep in mind that Uruguay have not been this deep in a World Cup since 1970: Does that mean expectations were lower so the pressure is off... or that they're starting to feel it?
Uruguay's first run to the World Cup quarterfinals since 1970 has captured hearts in the small South American nation.
The Black Stars of Ghana, however, will have the entire host continent behind them as they try to defeat Uruguay on Friday in Johannesburg and become the first African team ever to reach the semifinals.
No matter who wins this match, they will have to face off against the winner of the earlier match, but for Ghana it will be a matter of national pride. It will be interesting to see how Uruguay matches up against the physical nature of the "Black Stars", I look for a tight match, and I have a feeling at the end of 90 minutes it will be 1-1 with Uruguay coming out on top in extra time.
OFF MY SOAPBOX