So much for South Americans dominating this World Cup. Three sides from the continent were eliminated in the quarterfinals, leaving Uruguay, the last team to qualify for the competition after a playoff win over Costa Rica, as its only representative. In similar fashion, the demise of the European nations appears to have been exaggerated, with Germany, Spain and the Netherlands advancing to the final four. Here's a quick look at the semifinals:
Uruguay takes on the role of outsiders in the last four -- villains in the eyes of the hosts after
FIFA showed sense in sticking to its rules and suspending Suarez for one game for his handball, but his absence could be costly against Holland.
The Netherlands' missing list is far less worrying.
"We have to keep our focus as we haven¹t won anything yet," he said.
His team is unbeaten in 24 games and has won its last 13 competitive matches. Which makes it strange that only the Brazil result has united supporters struggling to embrace its pragmatic approach.
"Holland is winning by displaying the very things they always affected to despise,"
There is also a mental strength to this group. It did not panic after conceding an early goal to Brazil (unlike the Brazilians after the equalizer, or, indeed, Argentina against Germany) and clawed its way back into the game, admittedly with some assistance from its opponent.
"This current Oranje squad has an arrogance, a confidence, with guys like Sneijder, [
They might just be right.
If you need a bit of luck to win a World Cup, Spain might have used up its portion already. First the draw looked to be opening up when the Netherlands upset Brazil, the only team the Spaniards were concerned about facing; then
So now Spain faces Germany, whom it beat in the 2008 European Championship final. Back then, Spain changed from the Villa-
The big decision for coach
For all the talk that Germany is the most entertaining side still in the competition, it is also the best prepared, from a tactical and fitness perspective. Against England in the round of 16, Löw told his players to lure
"You plan for success with hard work," Low said.
He will have to put in some extra planning given the suspension of
He might get his wish if one omen is anything to go by: At least one defender for the last six World Cup winners has scored in the tournament (Argentina's
"Something kicks in when we play a tournament. We just know how to do it," injured captain
It helps to have a superb coach, a group of players working as a team (easier said than done, if some big nations are any indicator) and bags of confidence. This is Germany's perfect opportunity to avenge the 2008 defeat.