Brazil – Holland
Brazil, while not quite setting the tournament alight, have nonetheless been impressive. Out of all the favourites, Brazil are the team that seem to be able to change their style of play depending on the situation of the game. They can play beautiful, passing football that can open up tight defences (i.e Elano v North Korea; Fabiano v Chile – not that Chile have a tight defence but this was an excellently worked goal…) and they can score simple, set piece goals (i.e. Juan v Chile). This variety of play combined with the ability of Robinho and Luis Fabiano to score goals and the excellent Lucio in defence, plus the attacking from the wings of Maicon and Michel Bastos, for me this makes them my favourites to win the whole tournament. Holland depend greatly on the fitness of Arjen Robben, he would greatly improve any side he played for and for the sake of a good game I hope he is on top form for this quarter-final. Michel Bastos does like to get forward down Brazil’s left wing and could leave room for Robben to exploit, at the very least the presence of Robben will inhibit the forward runs of Bastos. This will be an interesting battle. The rest of Holland’s players have failed to really play well so far, yet they find themselves 2 games away from the World Cup final. I think Brazil will be too strong for the Dutch.
Uruguay – Ghana
I am looking forward to this game very much… Both sides have been great to watch and fully deserve a place in the semi-final. For periods of the game against the US, Ghana played excellent football. Very quick, direct and they scored two great goals. They will have the whole of the African continent supporting them as they try to make their way into the semi-finals. While playing for Portsmouth, Kevin Prince-Boateng looks average and accident prone but playing for this Ghana side he has been a revelation and his strong midfield play propelled them to victory against the US. Another significant factor has been their exciting midfielder Andre Ayew, who unfortunately is suspended for this crunch game. How they deal with his absence will be crucial. How they deal with Diego Forlán will also be crucial. The Atletico Madrid striker is having a great tournament, scoring and providing goals for Uruguay. His strike partner Luis Suárez has also been in great form propelling Uruguay past South Korea in the last 16 game. This will be a real test for Uruguay, but they have shown that they can deal with such tests after beating hosts South Africa 3-0 in the group stage. This is destined to be a great game and I think Uruguay will just nick it.