Fri, Jul 02, 2010 - Page 20 News List

2010 FIFA WORLD CUP: Brazil, Netherlands set for showdown

FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTHBrazilian coach Dunga has the utmost respect for today’s Dutch opposition, saying ‘they play their football like South Americans’

AFP , PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA

Netherlands’ goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg makes a save during a training session at Wits Rugby Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Brazil, without suspended Ramires and injured Elano, face the Netherlands today in what promises to be an explosive World Cup quarter-final.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk, appointed after Euro 2008 when Holland excelled in the ‘”Group of Death” only to run out of steam against Russia, has claimed his team are the “underdogs.”

“Brazil are a very mature and stable team,” he said. “They convey a positive form of arrogance, that others cannot win. We might be the underdogs against Brazil, for the first time in this World Cup.”

The Netherlands’ previous international outings have often been marked by discord in the camp, sometimes along racial lines, but one of the hallmarks of this year’s squad has been its harmony.

That unity was briefly threatened by an outburst from Robin van Persie who when he was taken off during Monday’s last 16 win over Slovakia reportedly said “it is not me that should be substituted but Wesley Sneijder.”

Van Persie later denied that he had mentioned Sneijder, but just to be on the safe side van Marwijk held clear the air talks between the pair, with Sneijder later insisting nothing had happened.

Dunga’s Brazil meanwhile are aiming to become the first of what could be an all-South American cast list for the semi-finals.

The Selecao are seemingly coming to the boil at just the right time judged on their 3-0 last 16 rout of Chile, one of the most attractive sides at these finals.

Goals from Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho put Brazil into the last eight with a record of three wins and a draw with Portugal.

Brazil suffered a shock quarter-final defeat to eventual beaten finalists France in Germany in 2006, and are anxious to atone for that reverse as they seek a sixth world crown.

Gilberto Silva said: “I believe we can win [the title].”

Turning to the upcoming test against the Netherlands, the former Arsenal midfielder added: “We know that if we give them space it will be very difficult for us and we could have a problem.”

Dunga, under enormous pressure to deliver the title, has the utmost respect for today’s opposition.

“They play their football like South Americans,” the 1994 World Cup winning captain said.

“Even though Brazil have beaten the Dutch twice before, every World Cup provides its own experience,” Dunga said. “Holland have a good tradition at the World Cup, we have to be very careful with the Dutch players, they are very technically able and we have to be able to deal with that.”

In midfield Dunga is without Ramires, suspended after picking up a second booking against Chile. Elano, who has scored twice, is also out with the ankle injury he suffered against the Ivory Coast.

Felipe Melo is also carrying an ankle injury and faces a race against time to take Ramires’ place on the left.

Kaka is one of three Brazilians and no fewer than seven Dutch who will miss an eventual semi-final should they receive a second yellow card.

AP, JOHANNESBURG

Uruguay will be chasing its first World Cup semi-final appearance for 40 years today while Ghana are bidding to make history for Africa.

The quarter-final match at Soccer City brings together a two-time, World Cup winner that have not gone this far since 1970 and a team that is in uncharted territory, carrying the weight of an entire continent.

For decades, Uruguay have been in the shadow of South American rivals Brazil and Argentina but have now joined them in the last eight at the World Cup on merit.

This story has been viewed 2357 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top