Sneijder, Robben can unlock Uruguay citadel | sports | Hindustan Times
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Sneijder, Robben can unlock Uruguay citadel

sports Updated: Jul 06, 2010 01:02 IST
Hindustan Times

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk is a quiet, discreet man who lets results talk for him. As coach, he won the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord in 2002. In South Africa, he has brought Holland to their first World Cup semi-final since 1974, far exceeding the record of his more famous predecessor Marco Van Basten.

Having beaten Brazil, Holland are now favoured to reach the final, but they cannot afford to be overconfident. Van Marwijk must focus his team on defeating Uruguay.

Van Marwijk adjusted the Dutch team in the second half against Brazil by bringing key man Wesley Sneijder in the middle closer to Arjen Robben. Holland pressed the Brazilian players and controlled the second half. They must do the same against Uruguay.

Look for Van Marwijk to keep his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, with Van Bronckhorst, Mathijsen, Heiting and Van Wiel in the back, Van Bommel and De Zeeuw as holding midfielders and talented Kuyt, Sneijder and Robben behind Van Persie.

Uruguay coach El Maestro Oscar Tabarez will be well aware of how lucky he was to survive a 120th minute penalty-kick by Ghana that would have sent Uruguay home. His team is in its first World Cup semi-final since 1970. To reach the final, he must find a way to neutralise curling ball specialist Sneijder and Robben.

The loss of quick-thinking striker Luis Suarez should prove greater than the loss of De Jong for Holland, giving Dutch the edge.

However, Diego Forlan continues to find ways to score and he will have Edison Cavani and spoon-penalty specialist Abreu to help him.

Holland will need a great effort from Sneijder or Robben to pass talented goalkeeper Muslera and reach their first World Cup final since 1974.

The other semifinal is a battle between the best offense of the tournament against the best midfield. I have to favour the Germans against Spain. Hopefully, Holland will be waiting for them in Johannesburg on July 11 — to repeat the final of the 1974 World Cup, but with a different result.