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Netherlands v Uruguay - Key battles
Published : 06 Jul 2010 14:53:35
With Uruguay taking on the Netherlands in the first World Cup semi-final later this evening, football.co.uk takes a look three of the key battles which could decide who progresses to the final on July 11th.
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Johnny Heitinga v Diego Forlan
The rock at the heart of the impressive Dutch defence, Heitinga has carried his superb club form of last season into the South African showpiece. With two attacking full-backs in the starting XI, the Everton man has shouldered much of the defensive responsibility - dealing with Brazil's Luis Fabiano with ease in the quarter-finals. His cause this evening will be helped by the absence of the banned Luis Suarez but in-form Diego Forlan looks set to provide him a tough challenge at the Green Point stadium.
Forlan has bagged four of Uruguay's seven goals in the tournament so far and with the banned Suarez having scored the other three, there will be huge pressure on the Atletico Madrid man to deliver the goods once again. Mooted as one of the players of the World Cup so far, the former Manchester United man has a chance to prove himself on the big stage later tonight.
Winner: Too close to call
Arjen Robben v Martin Caceres
Despite missing the opening two group games and most of the third, Robben has burst back into the starting XI in scintillating form. The flying winger was back to his best for Bayern Munich last season and his recent performances in orange have shown that the confidence is flowing through his veins once again.
This evening he looks likely to come up against Martin Caceres, who is yet to make an appearance at the tournament so far. The change comes as a result of Jorge Fucile's suspension, meaning Caceres, who spent last season on loan at Juventus from Barcelona, will come straight in to face one of the world's most talented wingers.
Winner: Arjen Robben
Wesley Sneijder v Diego Perez
Arguably the Netherland's most influential player so far, Wesley Sneijder is sure to play an integral part in tonight's huge clash. With four goals to his name from midfield already, his attacking threat is pivotal in supporting lone-striker Robin Van Persie.
This evening the Inter Milan man will come up against tough tackling defensive midfielder Diego Perez. The Uruguayan's drive and desire to protect his back-four has helped his side to an impressive defensive record, with just two goals conceded in the tournament so far. He will need to be on top of his game to have any chance against the in-form Sneijder.
Winner: Wesley Sneijder