Yeah, the Netherlands beat Brazil. But should that have been all that surprising? Considering the world-class attackers wearing the Oranje (Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie), not at all. Looking back, Brazil lost their sh#t once they let in a goal. The Oranje simply seized the few opportunities they came across.
Coming up against Uruguay today in the first semifinal, they face a physical South American squad that at times seems a one-man team. Like his competition for player of the tourney (Spain’s David Villa), Uruguay’s Diego Forlán floats around the field, influencing play at every turn and popping up when it matters most.
Without strike partner Luis Suarez, out due to his “Hand of God” red card in the gut-wrenching win against Africa’s last hope, Ghana, the onus falls on Forlán solely (he might get some help from fill-in Nicolás Lodeiro). The Atlético Madrid striker could especially terrorize the Netherlands with defensive-minded Nigel De Jong and Gregory Van Der Wiel both out due to yellow-card suspension, and he has support from his almost-impenetrable Uruguayan backline to fend off his Dutch counterparts.