Jumat, 02 Juli 2010

QF: Oranje ends Brazil's journey, Uru's win penalty shootout

The first of the day could be a classic, while in the second game the underdogs face each other.

(to be updated after the second game)

Netherlands 2-1 (0-1) Brazil
Goals: 0-1 (Robinho (10'), 1-1 Felipe Melo (53', own Goal), 2-1 Wesley Sneijder (68').

The Netherlands came back from a goal down to beat record world champions Brazil 2-1 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Brazil were the better side in the first half as the Dutch couldn't really find a way through the Brazilian defence and in patches the South Americans showed their Samba magic. The Brazilians took a deserving lead in the 10th minute when Felipe Melo in the centre played an excellent through pass for Robinho whose shot beat Dutch keeper Martin Stekelenburg. But seconds after the restart the Dutch tried to get even when a Dirk Kuyt shot was blocked by Julio Cesar. But thereafter it was mainly Brazil who could have doubled their lead through Juan, Robinho, Kaka or Luis Fabiano; but the South Americans weren't pushing enough to enhance their lead.

Things initially looked the same after the break, but the Netherlands were not willing to give this match away without a fight. And they where suddenly equal when a 53rd minute Wesley Sneijder cross from the right was not collected by Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar and his own man Felipe Melo would get a slight touch on his head as the ball sailed into the goal. After the goal the match was more even though Brazil could have regained the lead through Dani Alves and Kaka, but the goal was scored by the Dutch on the other side. In the 68th minute a Arjen Robben corner was headed on by Dirk Kuyt with the little Wesley Sneijder free infront of goal and he just headed the ball goalwards and suddenly the Dutch were in the lead. But now Brazil was shocked and the bad day got worse for Felipe Melo in the 73rd minute when he was send off for stamping on Robben after having fouled the Bayern star. Brazil were down to 10 men and in the last few minutes didn't show the necessary capabilities to get back into the match, while the Dutch had chances to seal the match the worst offender being Klaas Jan Huntelaar in injury time to slow to get the ball across to a free Robben infront of goal.

Uruguay 4-2 (1-1) [1-1 (0-1)] Ghana (penalties)
Goals: 0-1 Sulley Ali Muntari (45+2'), 1-1 Diego Forlan (55').

Uruguay were the luckier side as they beat Ghana 4-2 in a penalty shootout at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. It wasn't great football on display tonight, but the match was alive with loads of tension and the matches control shifting between the sides.

Uruguay reached their first World Cup semifinal since 1970 to resurrect their history in football. Initially it looked good for the South Americans who had things under control against a nervous looking Ghana. And once more Diego Forlan was the danger man, but Ghana survived the period of pressure and around the half hour mark started to threaten the Uruguay goal and didn't seem to be of the liking of Uruguay as they were pushed back and also had to substitute captain Diego Lugano, which didn't stabilise their defence. Ghana had a few close calls before Sulley Muntari gave them the lead with a 30 metre long ranger at the stroke of half time.

Uruguay were shocked, but not out as they could once more fall back on the experienced Diego Forlan. In the 55th minute Forlan took a direct free kick and Ricahrd Kingson in the Ghana goal took a step to the right and the ball just went past him. Thereafter it was an open game with Ghana's Asamoah Gyan and Luis Suarez for Uruguay being the main culprits of not scoring for their sides. Towards the end of regulation time Uruguay looked the better side, but their finishing just wasn't up to the mark and the match went into extra time.

Both sides had their chances in extra time, but the teams were tiring and their finishing became even more wayward or defenders were there to deny them a shot on target. The match would hit for an unlikely climax as Ghana pushed towards the end to try and win the match without a penalty shootout. In the second minute of injury time a Ghana free kick is not cleared by the Uruguay defence and first Luis Suarez clears off the line with his body, then he clears with his hands and the Ajax Amsterdam striker is send off. Ghana's sure penalty shooter Asamoah Gyan take the strike, but his shot hits the crossbar and goes over. Ghana missed a big chance to move into the semifinals.

Now it is a penalty shootout and Uruguay are psychologically on top. One has to give credit to Asamoah Gyan as he took Ghana's first kick and this time he is able to beat Fernando Muslera, but the Uruguayan keeper would be his teams hero with two blocked shots from John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah, while Maxi Pereira blasted his shot over for Uruguay, but Sebastian Abreu would put in Uruguay's last penalty to give the South Americans the win.

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