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From 32 to 4 and now to two - The World Cup Semi's begin - Netherlands vs Uruguay

A couple days off from the World Cup has left many of us just waiting for Tuesday and Wednesday when the final 4 teams will battle for a spot in the final.  One team will claim their spot on Tuesday as The Netherlands will face off against Uruguay.

Netherlands vs. Uruguay - 12:30 MT - ESPN

The last time the FIFA ranked teams the Netherlands were ranked #4 in the world and Uruguay was #16, yet one of these teams will be in the World Cup final. Uruguay is the last team from South America standing as Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile all fell out of the tournament.  The Netherlands upset many peoples picks when they beat Brazil 2-1 last week, and now you would have to think they are a favorite to make it to the final match.

SB Nation Exclusive Content:

Netherlands Team Site and Team Guide

Uruguay Team Site and Team Guide

Match Links:

Official FIFA Match Preview:

"It will be a very dangerous match. The euphoria at home is massive at the moment and maybe it's good that we're so far away and can't witness it. We really need to concentrate on Uruguay and that won't be easy. They didn't reach the semi final for nothing, so we have to really focus again and not think that we're already there," Bert Van Marwijk, Netherlands coach.

"Holland are tough opponents. They've not lost for almost two years. This generation is a little different to the traditional Holland - they are a very balanced side. At the back they give nothing away, they link well in midfield, and up front, they have hard-running, technically capable players like Van Bommel, Sneijder and Robben. They're always on the front foot, looking to attack. It'll be very difficult - but not impossible," Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay coach.

ESPN Match Preview:

What's on the line:

Two teams trying to recapture past glories will face off Tuesday in Cape Town in the first of two World Cup semifinals. The Netherlands will be trying to reach the final for the first time since 1978, when it lost to host Argentina. Uruguay has endured an even longer drought. It last reached the semis in 1970 and it has been 60 years since the country won the second of its two World Cup titles.

My Thoughts

Well the controversy has gone from the officials to the players as many question the last second deliberate handball by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, which earned Ghana a last play PK, and Suarez a red card.  I don't think anyone would still be talking about it if Gyan had made the PK and Ghana had won, but he didn't and the match went to PK's and Uruguay would win the PK shootout and advance.  For me I am very confused by the controversy, a player knew that if he did nothing his team would lose, if he broke the rules he would like get caught and punished and his team may still lose but would at least have a chance.  Who wouldn't do that, who wouldn't give their team a chance to fight on?  I am sorry there is no controversy, Suarez made a choice and by the rules of the game it was the right choice because it gave his team a chance.  

Will any of that matter on Tuesday?  I doubt it but Suarez won't be in the lineup for Uruguay, and neither will be Jorge Fucile as both are suspended, the Netherlands will be without Gregory van der Wiel and Nigel de Jong who also are suspended.  It is funny that the last time Uruguay faced the Dutch in the World Cup it was Pablo Forlan who was in the lineup but this time it will be his son Diego Forlan.

The Netherlands will have to focus, it would be easy for them to look past Uruguay, I mean they dealt with Brazil and they are better than Uruguay, right?  For the Oranje, it will be focus and execute, they are the better team but in the World Cup that doesn't always mean a win, it will be time for them to once again step up and claim their spot in the final and try to get their first chance to claim the trophy.  Kuyt, Robben, and Sneijder will all need to be at their best, and one can only hope that Robin van Persie may be healthy enough to perhaps make a difference in the match.

I am going to pick the Netherlands to win this match, with no drama, no extra time or a PK shootout, they will do their business and prove that they indeed belong in the final match.

OFF MY SOAPBOX