More on World Cup

After a month of Football in South Africa,the World Cup is nearly over with just Sunday Final to look forward to.This certainly will be a great matchup with World dominant players..
Before I will elaborate more on the World Cup Final,I would like to comment on the “Small Final” that has just ended with Germans winning against Uruguay 3:2
Unlike Sunday Final,the consolation Final did not expected to expose the players to enourmous pressure and emotion.As a result we were able to see open and attacking football.Both sides delivered exciting game with some spectacular play
Uruguay left the scene as a great ambassador of South America Football and we must agree that South American teams staged in South Africa looked very good.Teams like Chile,Paraguay Argentina,Brazil marked their presence in 2010 World Cup well however Argentina and especially Brazil hoped for more
Players like Suraez,Diego Forlan(who knows what would happend if he would scored in dying seconds of the game)…made a big difference showing excellent ability to play the game
I think that besides Spain which was favour from the beginning of the World Cup by many,so is Holland….my appreciation goes to Germans too.
Being left withouth their Captain and leader of the midfield Michael Ballack they were still looking good.Players like Andreas Muller,(only 20 years old) already displayed great maturity especially scoring on Uruguay.It wasn’t as much about scoring the goal as to find himself in the place up front of the goalkeeper in situation one on one.As he watched his teamate getting ready to shoot, he moved forward and behind the Uruguay defence which just stood there and observed passively a German player taking a shot at the goal. Muller found himself in perfect position, thanks to his anticipation and reading the game very well.It is worth it to notice as well that Germans were playing this game without their dominant players like Lahm,Podolski,Klose.This shows how much depth they have.It certainly deserves a lot of attention.Most likely the young and ambitious players will play major role in coming up in 2012 European Championship which will take place in Poland and Ukraine
Let’s not forget however about Spain and Holland in the same time setting up the stage for tomorrow Final
By looking at Spain squad on the paper they are looking perfect..in defence the best goalkeeper in the World Iker Casillas (on the bench Reina from Liverpool and Valdez from Barcelona),Puyol and Sergio Ramos who likes to move forward and cross the ball to penalty area.
Up front,it is David Villa who scored alraedy 5 times and leads in scoring most goals so far.Also I wouldn’t overlook Torres at all.A player who is struggling at the World Cup but he is without a doubt capable to score on any team, anytime
I think however that midfield with Iniesta,Xabi,Xavi Alonso especially thanks to their versality is the biggest threat of Spain.Iniesta is capable of slowing down the game or speed it up when is needed acting as a playmaker, being extremely confident on the ball.He is working very well with Messi in Barcelona but his star is also shining on National Team , unlike Messi who seems to struggle on Argentina Team
Xabi is able to deliver perfect last pass and Xavi Alonso is capable to shoot with precision and power any time. We must remember however that Spain has lost with Switzerland and Holland did not got to the final thru a back door either, being unbeaten so far in the World Cup.Players like Wesley Sneijder,Van Persie,Robben are as dominant players in the world . The players are very eager too and also know that this is a unique chance to win the World Cup.If we add to it the emotion and the pressure which will be present in World Cup Final anything can happend.Of course I do not want to argue with Paul ,the octopus(Who am I?)…that is why I won’t predict the result but I think it should be a very close game

Mike Kubik
UEFA A Coach
Players Agent Licensed under the rules and regulations of FIFA

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

GERMANY SPAIN 0:1

Germany
0 – 1
Spain

Durban Stadium, Durban, South Africa
Last 5 Matches

Germany: L-W-W-W-L

Spain: W-W-W-W-W
672638Preview GameCast Recap Photos 118 Statistics Conversations Puyol’s header enough to advance Spain to first World Cup final
VIDEO PLAYLIST
Puyol The Hero As Spain Wins 1-0Spain Reaches First World Cup FinalDigital Kick For July 7thSpeed Games: Germany VS. SpainSpain Sets Up Final With NetherlandsAlso SeeFan interrupts Germany-Spain World Cup semi Scoring SummaryGermany Spain
Carles Puyol (73′)
Match StatsGermany
Spain
5(2) Shots (on Goal) 13(5)
9 Fouls 7
6 Corner Kicks 7
2 Offsides 1
49% Time of Possession 51%
0 Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
4 Saves 2
Match InformationStadium: Durban Stadium, Durban, South Africa
Attendance: 60,960
Match Time: 14:30 ET
Official(s): Viktor Kassai

672638
TeamsGermany Spain
1 Manuel Neuer 1 Iker Casillas
3 Arne Friedrich 5 Carles Puyol
17 Per Mertesacker 3 Gerard Piqué
20 Jerome Boateng 11 Joan Capdevila
16 Philipp Lahm 15 Sergio Ramos
7 Bastian Schweinsteiger 16 Sergio Busquets
6 Sami Khedira 14 Xabi Alonso
11 Miroslav Klose 8 Xavi
8 Mesut Özil 18 Pedro
10 Lukas Podolski 7 David Villa
15 Piotr Trochowski 6 Andrés Iniesta
Substitutes
22 Hans-Jörg Butt Carlos Marchena 4
23 Mario Gomez Pepe Reina 23
4 Dennis Aogo Victor Valdés 12
12 Tim Wiese Fernando Torres 9
2 Marcell Jansen Jesús Navas 22
9 Stefan Kießling Cesc Fábregas 10
19 Cacau Raúl Albiol 2
5 Serdar Tasci Álvaro Arbeloa 17
21 Marko Marin David Silva 21
18 Toni Kroos Fernando Llorente 19
14 Holger Badstuber Javi Martínez 20
Juan Mata 13
Substitutions
· Rosters: Germany | Spain
Associated Press
DURBAN, South Africa — They pressured Germany the entire match and peppered its goalkeeper so many times a score seemed inevitable.

Finally, with a mighty swing of his head that sent his long, curly locks flying, Spain’s Carles Puyol got it done.

Carles Puyol enjoyed a rare moment in the spotlight as an inspired Spanish squad defeated Germany, writes Jeff Carlisle. Story

——————————————————————————–

Mental toughness, never a trait associated with Spanish teams in the past, is what propelled Spain past Germany, writes Jeff Bradley. Story

——————————————————————————–

One by one, the World Cup’s seven winners had been knocked out, leaving only Spain and the Netherlands to dream of what never has been, writes Chris Jones. Story

• Spain-Germany report card
• Hill: Octopus right again

With the World Cup final in reach — and Queen Sofia cheering from the stands — La Roja came through with their best game yet.

“We’ve shown that in the big moments we can grow even more,” striker David Villa said after Spain’s 1-0 semifinal victory over Germany on Wednesday night. “We should have scored more goals, but one from Puyol has put us in the final.”

Spain will play for the World Cup title for the very first time, thanks to Puyol’s goal on that powerful header in the second half. The game was a repeat, down to the final score, of the 2008 European Championship final when Spain beat Germany to win its first major title in 44 years.

European bragging rights are one thing. Being the world champion is something else.

When the final whistle sounded, the Spanish players on the field thrust their arms in the air while the substitutes raced out to join them. Two teammates grabbed Villa, who has scored all but two of Spain’s goals here, and carried him on their shoulders.

In the stands, Spanish fans partied deep into the night, waving flags, banging on drums and singing chorus after chorus of “Ole! Ole! Ole!”

Game Notes
• Spain reached its first World Cup final and will face the Netherlands on Sunday (1:30 ET on ABC).

• It will be the first final since 1978 Argentina-Netherlands between two teams that have not won a title.

• Spain is the fourth team to reach the final after losing its opener, and the first since 1994 Italy. No team has won the World Cup after losing its opener.

• This was the 29th game decided by one goal in the tournament, the most of any World Cup.

• Xavi completed 105 passes, becoming just the eighth player to complete at least 100 passes since 1966. The midfielder also had seven chances created, bringing his tournament-leading total to 25. With his performance, Xavi now has 509 completed passes, becoming the second player to complete 500 passes at a single World Cup. Brazil’s Dunga, who completed 589 in 1994, is the other.

• Germany’s midfield playmakers Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Özil both suffered from their worst passing days in this World Cup. Schweinsteiger completed only 76.5 percent of his passes while Özil connected on just 78.0 percent of his. Schweinsteiger had been connecting on 88.7 percent of his passes entering Wednesday and Özil 84.9 percent of his attempts.

— ESPN Stats & Information

“This is one of the greatest moments for Spain, for us to be in the final of the World Cup, it’s history,” said Villa, who remains tied with Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder for the tournament scoring lead at five goals apiece. “And we want to make more history in the final.”

Somebody will.

Spain faces the Netherlands on Sunday at Soccer City in Johannesburg, ensuring a first-time champion. The Dutch, who beat Uruguay 3-2 on Tuesday night, have lost in their only two trips to the final.

The two teams have never met in the World Cup and their all-time series is dead even.

“I am sure the Spanish can win any game,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said, “because they are dominant and it’s hard to contain their attack.”

Making opponents look bad is becoming Spain’s trademark.

Spain has been the best team in Europe — all the world, really — for much of the last four years. It’s lost all of two games since November 2006, one a shocker to Switzerland in the group-stage opener. With all but two members of the starting lineup playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid, the Spanish play with a seamlessness and fluidity that’s almost intuitive.

“They have been playing together for several years, they are very cohesive, their moves come automatically,” German striker Miroslav Klose said. “They were simply the better team.”

Injuries to Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas kept Spain from showing its full flair and polish in South Africa, leading some to question whether the European champions’ time had passed. Against Germany, however, the Spanish showed they are still very much the team to beat.

After coming oh, so close several times — including on back-to-back plays in the 57th minute — Xavi swung a corner kick right into the scrum in front of German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the 73rd. With fellow defender and Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique next to him and screening Neuer’s view, Puyol leaped and got the ball.

He headed it with such power that his long curls whipped across his face. Neuer dived to his left, but had no chance to stop the ball as it thundered into the net.

“We should have intercepted that ball,” Loew said.

Not a chance.

Instead, the Germans could only watch in dismay as the Spanish players gathered for a group hug at the edge of the box, bouncing up and down and rubbing each other’s heads. As the Germans trudged back into position, Lukas Podolski barked at his teammates in frustration.

This wasn’t what the Germans envisioned after overhauling their team following the Euro 2008 loss, bringing in youngsters such as Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and goal-scoring machine Thomas Mueller, who was suspended against Spain after picking up a second yellow card in the quarterfinals.

The newcomers infused Germany with a speed and smoothness few other teams could match, and it rolled over old rivals England and Argentina by a combined score of 8-1.

But there’s something about Spain that brings out the worst in the Germans, and they looked as if they were back in Vienna for much of the night.

Those counterattacks that were so devastating against England and Argentina never materialized, and the midfield spacing that had been so impressive was almost nonexistent.

“We can say Germany wasn’t as good as we thought they’d be today,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said. “But that is due to the excellent performance of our team.”

The Germans were devastated after the final whistle, with captain Philipp Lahm breaking down in tears and Bastian Schweinsteiger crumbling to his knees. Not even a consoling pat on the back from Puyol helped.

This was the three-time champions’ third straight trip to the World Cup semifinals. Yet just like in 2006, they are headed for the third-place game.

“Right now, I really don’t feel like playing for third place,” Lahm said. “The disappointment is very big. We had a lot as our goal and we didn’t succeed.”

For the Spanish, it’s everything they’ve been working for these last four years.

“We worked hard to get here and now we have made the final,” Villa said. “It’s a great thing.”

FANTASY
COLUMNISTS

Jemele Hill
Finding solace in soccer
Chris Jones
Not sad to see Paraguay go at all
Jemele Hill
Anything but Southern Comfort
Luke Cyphers
Biggest flops of the World Cup VIDEO
Spain Reaches First World Cup Final
(02:44) The Netherlands In 1st Final Since 1978
(03:21) VIDEO FEATURES
32 Teams, One Dream

View profiles of all 32 teams.

I Scored a Goal »

EA Simulations »
FEATURES
O’Connor: The five-point plan to bring Maradona to the NBA

Michael Davies & Roger Bennett

View the Blog »
Hill: Paul the Psychic Octopus stays perfect

Watch the World Cup live, on the go.

View the Blog »

PHOTOS
Photo Galleries

View our feature galleries.

View the Galleries »
News Archive »
Scoreboard WidgetSCORES & SCHEDULES – Semifinals View Scoreboard »
July 6, 2010Full Time – ESPN, ESPN3.com Uruguay 2 – 3 NetherlandsRecapGameCastWatch ReplayJuly 7, 2010Full Time – ESPN, ESPN3.com Germany 0 – 1 SpainRecapGameCastWatch ReplayJune
11121314151617181920212223242526272829July
23671011Scores » | Schedule » | Bracket » Uruguay vs. Germany
ABC, MobileTV, ESPN 3D7/10
2:30 PM ETNetherlands vs. Spain
ABC, MobileTV, ESPN 3D7/11
2:30 PM ET
ESPN3.com World Cup Complete Schedule »
PREVIEWS
Featured Match

Uruguay vs. Germany

EA Simulation »

REPLAY
Featured Match

Germany vs. Spain

Recap »

Watch Replay

Replays will be available after matches have been completed.
MOBILE
Mobile TV

Watch the World Cup live, on the go. Text GOAL to 43776 and we’ll text you back instructions for how to access ESPN Mobile TV. Message and data rates may apply.

View the Mobile TV schedule »
Mobile App

Get the ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup app with video alerts, field view GameCast, live audio and more.

Download now »

ESPN’s Live Coverage of the World Cup »
Algeria (Group C) Argentina (B) Australia (D) Brazil (G) Cameroon (E) Chile (H) Denmark (E) England (C) France (A) Germany (D) Ghana (D) Greece (B) Honduras (H) Italy (F) Ivory Coast (G) Japan (E) Mexico (A) Netherlands (E) New Zealand (F) Nigeria (B) North Korea (G) Paraguay (F) Portugal (G) Serbia (D) Slovakia (F) Slovenia (C) South Africa (A) South Korea (B) Spain (H) Switzerland (H) United States (C) Uruguay (A)View Groups:Group AGroup BGroup CGroup DGroup EGroup FGroup GGroup HStandingsComplete World Cup Schedule » | Bracket »
2010 VENUES
Soccer City, Johannesburg

Capacity: 91,700 | Built: 1989

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Durban Stadium, Durban
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Peter Mokab Stadium, Polokwane
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
KEY DATES
Group stage: June 11-25
Second round: June 26-29
Quarterfinals: July 2, 3
Semifinals: July 6, 7
Final: July 11
World Cup 2014: Brazil

STATS & RECORDS
Current tournament stats »
World Cup records »
Standings »
WORLD CUP HISTORY
Germany 2006
Korea / Japan 2002
France 1998
United States 1994
Italy 1990
Mexico 1986
Spain 1982
Argentina 1978
West Germany 1974
Mexico 1970
England 1966
Chile 1962
Sweden 1958
Switzerland 1954
Brazil 1950
France 1938
Italy 1934
Uruguay 1930

Soccernet Bracket Predictor
First select which two teams will advance out of each the eight groups. The order you select them – 1st or 2nd – determines where they are placed in the 16-team bracket. Then predict the winner of the 15 bracket matches throughout the Finals. All picks locked with the first kickoff on Friday, June 11, 2010.

Soccer Pick’em
Accumulate the most points by correctly selecting the “winning pick” for each of the sixty-four (64) matches. During the forty-eight (48) group stage matches the “Draw” is included, while during the sixteen (16) knockout stage matches it’s straight up who will win. Daily and overall prizes awarded, sign up now!

Soccernet World Fantasy
Play against your friends and the rest of the world for a chance to win a Dream Soccer Vacation! Select a 15-player squad from the 32 competing nations – within a $100M salary cap – then choose your Starting XI during each Gameweek of the tourney. If you have the most points after the Final, you win the trip!

Soccernet Knockout Bracket
Complete a bracket by selecting the winning team for each of the 15 tournament matches. All brackets lock at the kickoff of the knockout stage on Saturday, June 26, 2010. Points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the tournaments progress. Overall prizes awarded, sign up now!

All ESPN Fantasy Games »
ESPN.com: Help | PR Media Kit | Advertise On ESPN.com | Sales Media Kit | Interest-Based Ads | Report a Bug | Corrections | Contact Us | Site Map | Shop | Jobs at ESPN | Supplier Information
©2010 ESPN Internet Ventures. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and Safety Information/Your California Privacy Rights are applicable to you. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dutch in Finals

Final – 90′
Uruguay
2 – 3
Netherlands

Green Point Stadium
Last 5 Matches

Uruguay: L-D-W-W-W

Netherlands: W-W-W-W-W

Netherlands Moves On To Final, 3-2The Netherlands In 1st Final Since 1978Speed Matches: Uruguay Vs. NetherlandsScoring SummaryUruguay Netherlands
Diego Forlán (41′) Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (18′)
Maxi Pereira (90′) Wesley Sneijder (70′)
Arjen Robben (73′)
Match StatsUruguay
Netherlands
12(6) Shots (on Goal) 11(7)
15 Fouls 16
4 Corner Kicks 5
4 Offsides 5
47% Time of Possession 53%
2 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
4 Saves 4
Match InformationStadium: Green Point Stadium
Attendance: 62,479
Match Time: 14:30 ET
Official(s): Ravshan Irmatov

737487
TeamsUruguay Netherlands
1 Fernando Muslera 1 Maarten Stekelenburg
3 Diego Godín 4 Joris Mathijsen
6 Mauricio Victorino 3 John Heitinga
22 Martín Cáceres 5 Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
16 Maxi Pereira 12 Khalid Boulahrouz
5 Walter Gargano 14 Demy De Zeeuw
17 Egidio Arévalo 6 Mark Van Bommel
11 Álvaro Pereira 9 Robin Van Persie
15 Diego Pérez 10 Wesley Sneijder
7 Edinson Cavani 7 Dirk Kuyt
10 Diego Forlán 11 Arjen Robben
Substitutes
13 Sebastián Abreu Rafael Van der Vaart 23
23 Martín Silva Sander Boschker 22
8 Sebastián Eguren Andre Ooijer 13
2 Diego Lugano Michel Vorm 16
20 Álvaro Fernández Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 21
18 Ignacio González Stijn Schaars 18
19 Andrés Scotti Edson Braafheid 15
12 Juan Castillo Ryan Babel 19
21 Sebastián Fernández Eljero Elia 17
Ibrahim Afellay 20
Substitutions
Sebastián Abreu for Álvaro Pereira (78)
Rafael Van der Vaart for Demy De Zeeuw (45)

Sebastián Fernández for Diego Forlán (84)
Eljero Elia for Arjen Robben (90)

Yellow Cards
Maxi Pereira (21)
Wesley Sneijder (29)

Martín Cáceres (29)
Khalid Boulahrouz (78)

Mark Van Bommel (90)

· Rosters: Uruguay | Netherlands
Associated Press
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — A Dutch treat: The Netherlands is in the World Cup final.

Long wasteful with its soccer talent, the Netherlands sure has found the right touch in this tournament.

Game Notes
• The Netherlands advances to its third World Cup final. The Dutch lost to host countries West Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978.

• The Dutch will face Germany or Spain on Sunday in Johannesburg (1:30 ET on ABC).

• It’s the first time a team scored three goals in a World Cup semifinal since 1982, when West Germany and France tied 3-3 (Germany advanced on PKs).

• Dutch captain and defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst opened the scoring in the 18th minute with one of the best goals of the tournament, a beautiful 58-mph strike from 42 yards out, his sixth career goal in 106 appearances. The 35-year-old van Bronckhorst, who had already announced he will retire after the World Cup, is the second-oldest player to score in a World Cup semifinal, behind only 37-year-old Gunnar Gren of Sweden in 1958.

• Wesley Sneijder scored in the 70th minute. His five goals are tied with Spain’s David Villa for most in the tournament, and he also ties a Dutch record for most in a single World Cup.

• Diego Forlan became the first player to score three goals from outside the box at a single World Cup since Germany’s Lothar Matthaus in 1990.

• The tournament has seen goal scoring rise during the knockout stages. Teams averaged 2.10 goals per match during the group stage, lowest since the tournament expanded to 32 teams in 1998. However, goal scoring has risen to 2.85 goals per match in the knockout stage, second-highest since FIFA adopted its current knockout stage format in 1986. The 1994 World Cup (2.93) was the only tournament with a higher goals-per-match average in the knockout stage.

— ESPN Stats & Information

Dutch stars Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben scored three minutes apart in the second half as the Netherlands beat Uruguay 3-2 Tuesday night to advance to its first championship match since losing in 1978 to Argentina.

“We are so close,” Sneijder said. “There is nothing bigger than the World Cup.”

Winners of all six games in South Africa, the Oranje will face either Germany or Spain in Sunday’s title game at Soccer City in Johannesburg. The Netherlands lost its other appearance in the final, to West Germany in 1974.

Both of those title-game defeats came during the golden period of Dutch soccer, and in the opposition’s homeland. No such worries this time, and no country outside of Africa has had as much fan support as the Netherlands.

Inside Green Point Stadium it looked like a Florida orange grove. Outside, a Netherlands fan in a blue and white bodysuit stood on stilts and played a vuvuzela — badly. It was about the only thing that didn’t measure up for the Dutch.

And a tournament that looked like a South American fiesta early on will end in a European showdown for the second straight World Cup. Sneijder and Robben made sure of that.

“This is unforgettable,” said Sneijder, now tied with Spain’s David Villa for top scorer at the tournament (five goals). “It was a tough fight and toward the end we complicated matters.

“Sunday we play in the World Cup final. I have to get used to that.”

Sneijder’s goal came somewhat unexpectedly because Uruguay had shut down the Dutch offense for much of the second half. His left-footed shot from just inside the penalty area barely ticked the leg of defender Maximiliano Pereira and, with Robin van Persie almost deflecting it again, it skidded past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Then Robben sent a cross from Dirk Kuyt past a flat-footed Muslera with a brilliant header as Robben was leaping away from the net. His teammates piled on in an Oranje Crush celebration, and Robben came up from it with mud on his forehead, a smile on his face — and the knowledge that Netherlands was ahead 3-1 and likely headed to the championship match.

For good measure, Robben blew kisses to the fans.

Uruguay was without dangerous striker Luis Suarez, whose handball on the goal line in the final seconds of extra time against Ghana saved his team in the quarterfinals. He drew a red card for that, and spent his suspension on the bench watching his undermanned teammates come up just short.

Pereira made the Netherlands sweat with a goal in injury time, and Stekelenburg’s late save preserved the biggest Dutch win in decades. The Dutch have now won 10 straight and are unbeaten in their last 25 games. Report card: Netherlands vs. Uruguay
Uruguay put up a tenacious battle right to the end, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the Dutch, who will return to the final for the first time since 1978, writes Leander Schaerlaeckens. Story

Robben was replaced late in the match, and at the final whistle he fell flat to the turf as he ran back onto the pitch. Mark van Bommel hustled over to where the ball came to rest, picked it up and hugged it. His teammates then began a joyous stroll around the field, some of them barechested, as the vuvuzelas blared and Dutch flags waved in the stands.

About a half hour after the game ended, 1,000 fans were still there — singing Dutch songs, waving flags, and bowing in unison — and the team came back in their orange shorts to join the party, even lead the cheers.

“This is very special,” Van Marwijk said. “After 32 years we play the final again. Such a small country! We can be very proud of this.”

The Jabulani ball Van Bommel grabbed has been a source of criticism for its unpredictability, particularly the way it can soar. When Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, a true defensive halfback, puts one in from 30 yards off the far goalpost, well, let the debate begin again.

The Dutch captain gave his team the lead in the 18th minute, and the Oranje pressed for more, but when they let up slightly on defense, the superb Diego Forlan pounced. He was given far too much open space in the middle of the field and, from just under 30 yards, his left-footed drive went off goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg’s hand and into the net.

Stekelenburg was screened just enough by defender John Heitinga and didn’t get a good view of the ball until it was too late.

While several Dutch players threw up their hands in frustration, Forlan celebrated his fourth goal of the tournament with a suave wave of his arm. Suarez leaped off the bench in jubilation.

Forlan left in the 85th minute and coach Oscar Tabarez revealed after the match that his star played hurt.

“From minute one he had a problem,” Tabarez said. “I’m not dumb enough to take him out at 3-1 when the match wasn’t lost. He was injured and could not continue.”

Van Bronckhorst was in his accustomed role early in the second half when he headed a long shot by Alvaro Pereira away from the net after Stekelenburg was caught out chasing a stray back pass. And the Dutch defense was under siege in the final minutes as Uruguay sought to tie it.

The Celeste will head to Saturday’s third-place game, not bad for the last team to qualify.

Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Durban Stadium, Durban
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Peter Mokab Stadium, Polokwane
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
KEY DATES
Group stage: June 11-25
Second round: June 26-29
Quarterfinals: July 2, 3
Semifinals: July 6, 7
Final: July 11
World Cup 2014: Brazil

STATS & RECORDS
Current tournament stats »
World Cup records »
Standings »
WORLD CUP HISTORY
Germany 2006
Korea / Japan 2002
France 1998
United States 1994
Italy 1990
Mexico 1986
Spain 1982
Argentina 1978
West Germany 1974
Mexico 1970
England 1966
Chile 1962
Sweden 1958
Switzerland 1954
Brazil 1950
France 1938
Italy 1934
Uruguay 1930

Soccernet Bracket Predictor
First select which two teams will advance out of each the eight groups. The order you select them – 1st or 2nd – determines where they are placed in the 16-team bracket. Then predict the winner of the 15 bracket matches throughout the Finals. All picks locked with the first kickoff on Friday, June 11, 2010.

Soccer Pick’em
Accumulate the most points by correctly selecting the “winning pick” for each of the sixty-four (64) matches. During the forty-eight (48) group stage matches the “Draw” is included, while during the sixteen (16) knockout stage matches it’s straight up who will win. Daily and overall prizes awarded, sign up now!

Soccernet World Fantasy
Play against your friends and the rest of the world for a chance to win a Dream Soccer Vacation! Select a 15-player squad from the 32 competing nations – within a $100M salary cap – then choose your Starting XI during each Gameweek of the tourney. If you have the most points after the Final, you win the trip!

Soccernet Knockout Bracket
Complete a bracket by selecting the winning team for each of the 15 tournament matches. All brackets lock at the kickoff of the knockout stage on Saturday, June 26, 2010. Points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the tournaments progress. Overall prizes awarded, sign up now!

All ESPN Fantasy Games »
ESPN.com: Help | PR Media Kit | Advertise On ESPN.com | Sales Media Kit | Interest-Based Ads | Report a Bug | Corrections | Contact Us | Site Map | Shop | Jobs at ESPN | Supplier Information
©2010 ESPN Internet Ventures. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and Safety Information/Your California Privacy Rights are applicable to you. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

THE FINAL FOUR:FULL SCHEDULE AND GAME PREVIUS

Uruguay is the last remaining South American team in the tournament
Europe has three representatives with Germany, Spain and the Netherlands
Germany is the new favorite after convincing wins over England and Argentina

The notorious rivalry between Dutch stars Robin van Persie (left) and Wesley Sneijder is on hold as their team advances in the World Cup.
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
World Cup: Day 24
Latest Coverage
LYTTLETON: Who’ll reach final?
WILSON: Bans impact semifinal
LYTTLETON: Forlan must step up
WILSON: 1950 a triumph of garra
REITER: Ghana gone but not forgotten
Previous Coverage
2010 World Cup Day 23: Germany surprises even itself Day 22: Brazil’s Dunga fails to lead by example Day 21: How Germany reinvented itself Day 20: 4-4-2 formation increasingly redundant Day 19: Spain looks like Spain again Day 18: Brazil makes short work of Chile Day 17: England needs to learn from this failure Day 16: Bradley makes questionable lineup decisions Day 15: Spain, Brazil take care of business Day 14: Defending champ Italy humbled Day 13: U.S. revels in its late-game drama Day 12: South Africa, Nigeria knocked out Day 11: Spain, Portugal show their strength Day 10: New Zealand continues to defy odds Day 9: Netherlands becomes first team to advance Day 8: U.S. shows grit; England falls flat Day 7: Argentina puts on show; France clueless Day 6: Attacking football finally arrives Day 5: Brazil’s Maicon delivers goal of tournament Day 4: Mixed results for Italy, Netherlands Day 3: Germany rolls; vuvuzelas cause stir Day 2: Gutsy effort from U.S.; Messi shines Day 1: Good start for hosts; France struggles

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 vs. Netherlands, Tuesday, 2:30 p.m. ET
Uruguay takes on the role of outsiders in the last four — villains in the eyes of the hosts after Luis Suarez’s last-minute handball against Ghana helped deny Africa a first-ever semifinalist. However, it’s also the romantics’ choice given its history, as winner in 1930 and 1950, and now in a semifinal for the first time since 1970. By beating Ghana, this Uruguay side has also conquered its recent fear of penalties, after losing the last two Copa America semifinals in shootouts to Brazil, and missing out on the 2006 World Cup after defeat on penalty kicks to Australia.

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. Diego Forlan might replace his goals and move into the No. 9 position, but that reduces the impact of his link-play. Sebastien Fernandez, a left winger, is a more likely replacement than Sebastien Abreu, whose “Panenka-style” game-winning penalty dink against Ghana, befitting of the player’s “El Loco” nickname, might prove the memorable swan song to his international career. The excellent Jorge Fucile is also suspended, and captain Diego Lugano is an injury doubt.

The Netherlands’ missing list is far less worrying. Demy de Zeeuw and Khalid Boulahrouz will come in for the suspended Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel, respectively, while Robin van Persie and Joris Mathijsen have recovered from knocks to play. Holland¹s biggest problem will be reining in its euphoria following the win over Brazil, but coach Bert van Marwijk was quick to remind the players of the 1992 European Championships, when Holland beat Germany 3-1 in the quarterfinals, only to lose on penalties to unfancied Denmark in the semifinals.

“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,” David Winner, author of Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football, told SI.com.

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, [Robin] Van Persie, [Mark] Van Bommel and also unflappable players like [Arjen] Robben and [Dirk] Kuyt,” former Holland winger Marc Overmars said. “And that’s why they all really believe they can win it.”

They might just be right.

PREDICTED WINNER: Netherlands

Germany vs. Spain, Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. ET
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 Oscar Cardozo missed Paraguay’s penalty in its quarterfinal as the referee ignored Spanish players’ encroachment into the area (he was not so generous at the other end); and the ball somehow hit the post three times before going in for David Villa’s late winning goal.

So now Spain faces Germany, whom it beat in the 2008 European Championship final. Back then, Spain changed from the Villa-Fernando Torres strike force to just one up front at the semifinal stage, and its chances on Wednesday could depend on a similar switch. It was injury that forced Villa out two years ago, and injury has restricted Torres so far in South Africa. No matter how much his teammates talk up his value, it cannot be coincidence that Spain’s last two winning goals have come after Torres had been replaced (by Fernando Llorente against Portgal, and Cesc Fabregas against Paraguay).

The big decision for coach Vicente del Bosque will be whether to keep faith with Torres or start with Fabregas or even Pedro Rodriguez against Germany. Whatever the decision, German coach Joachim Löw will have a strategy for it.

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 John Terry out of central defense to create space behind him, while against Argentina in the quarterfinals, Löw targeted Diego Maradona’s decision to play two center backs in the fullback positions. Right back Nicolas Otamendi, in particular, had a rough time and three of Germany’s four goals came from his flank.

“You plan for success with hard work,” Low said.

He will have to put in some extra planning given the suspension of Thomas Mueller, one of the revelations of the tournament. Such is Germany’s confidence that Mueller’s suspension barely received a mention after the drubbing of Argentina, while Mueller said he hopes to play one more match in the tournament.

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 Jose Luis Brown in 1986, West Germany’s Andreas Brehme in 1990, Brazil’s Branco in 1994, France’s Laurent Blanc/Lilian Thuram in 1998, Brazil’s Edmilson in 2002 and Italy’s Fabio Grosso/Gianluca Zambrotta 2006). There is still time for that to change, but so far, thanks to Arne Friedrich’s goal against Argentina, Germany is the only side left to tick that box.

“Something kicks in when we play a tournament. We just know how to do it,” injured captain Michael Ballack said before the World Cup.

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.

PREDICTED WINNER: Germany

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

About

This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.

1 Comment

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments