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Uruguay, Brazil are favourites

india Updated: Jul 02, 2010 00:13 IST
Lothar Mattaus

As the tournament goes on, injuries and suspensions take their toll, and the strength of the squad is tested. Ghana find themselves in a spot of bother with star striker Asamoah Gyan, midfield powerhouse Kevin-Prince Boateng and defenders Samuel Inkoom and John Mensah all carrying injuries, while defender Jonathan Mensah and midfielder Andre Ayew are both suspended.

Gyan particularly is an important player for them, having scored the goal that defeated Serbia, the equaliser against Australia, and the extra-time winner in the Round of 16 win over USA.

USA are a fit team. However, Ghana matched them. Their confidence will be high and they know that they will have the support of a continent behind them. Their game is about power and their approach is very defensive, they press the ball and rely heavily upon Gyan as a lone striker. Without him, or if he is not fully fit, they will struggle.

Uruguay may be missing defender Diego Godin. However, his replacement against Mexico, Victorino, looked very capable. The Uruguayans are superior technically, and their front three of Suarez, Forlan and Cavani are formidable. Uruguay will definitely start favourites.

The second quarterfinal features the Netherlands and favourites Brazil. Holland come into this game on the back of four consecutive wins taking their unbeaten run to 23 games. The return of Arjen Robben from injury, and the way he linked up with the impressive Sneijder, will have given the Dutch added confidence. Brazil have one of the world's best players in Kaka, and exceptional forwards in Robinho and Luis Fabiano. I expect Brazil to progress, but this will be a real test against a team that has the capability to defeat them.