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Tuesday World Cup Semifinal Features Uruguay Vs Netherlands

  • Sonny Young

Uruguay will go against the Netherlands Tuesday in the first semifinal at the World Cup football tournament in South Africa.

The Uruguay-Netherlands match-up in Cape Town features a two-time World Cup champion against a two-time World Cup finalist.

The Dutch have been described as perennial underachievers on football's biggest stage, but they have won five consecutive matches in South Africa, including a 2-1 victory over five-time World Cup champion Brazil in their last game.

Midfielder Wesley Sneijder has been spearheading the Dutch attack. He has four goals, including both scores against the Brazilians.

After the quarterfinal win over World Cup favorite Brazil, Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk has warned his players not to underestimate Uruguay.

"This is the moment that I already talked about for two years, that the next game is always coming and when you beat Brazil and you are in the last four of the world, then what is coming is the next game, and the next game is Uruguay and they are fighters, survivors, and we have to be very, very concentrated," coach Bert van Marwijk said.

The Netherlands lost back-to-back World Cup finals to Germany in 1974 and to Argentina in 1978.

Uruguay won the inaugural World Cup in 1930, which it hosted, and won the title again at the 1950 tournament in Brazil.

Uruguay has one of the world's top strikers, Diego Forlan, who has three goals at this World Cup. Another top striker, Luis Suarez, will miss the match against the Dutch after being called for a handball on the line in the final seconds of extra time in the team's quarterfinal victory over Ghana, a game decided by penalty kicks.

Suarez's controversial play is credited with getting Uruguay into the semifinals, while many African football fans feel he cheated Ghana out of a deserved victory.

Europe is already assured of one place in Sunday's final, since Spain and Germany meet in the second World Cup semifinal Wednesday in Durban.

The Spaniards beat the Germans, 1-0, in the 2008 European championship final. But, the youthful German squad may be in better form going into the Durban encounter.

Germany has routed two old rivals in its past two matches, beating England, 4-1, and Argentina, 4-0.

The Germans have scored a tournament-high 13 goals in South Africa. Twenty-year-old Thomas Mueller and 32-year-old veteran Miroslav Klose have scored four each. Klose is now only one goal from equaling the World Cup's all-time scoring record, of 15 goals, held by Brazil striker Ronaldo.

Meanwhile, Spain's David Villa leads all scorers in South Africa with five goals. Villa's 83rd-minute goal lifted Spain to a 1-0 victory over Paraguay in the quarterfinals.