The 2010 FIFA World Cup has reached its final four – and certainly not a quartet that many were expecting, what with Brazil bowing out in the quarterfinals, plus teams like Italy and France not even making it to the second round.

Nevertheless, here we are – with Uruguay, Netherlands, Germany and Spain as the four countries left standing.


The Wife Hates Sports presents a preview of the World Cup’s semifinals – featuring a few thoughts, predictions, stats, reasons each team could win and reasons each country will fall just short of hoisting the trophy.

2010 FIFA World Cup Semifinals Preview


How They Got Here:

Uruguay 0, France 0

Uruguay 3, South Africa 0uruguay-soccer-crest

Uruguay 1, Mexico 0

Uruguay 2, South Korea 1 (2nd Round)

Uruguay 1 (4), Ghana 1 (2) (Quarterfinals)

Why They’ll Win

–   This is a team that has faced a lot of adversity and found ways to win – including clutch penalty kick situations, as in its quarterfinal win versus Ghana.

–   The defense has only allowed two goals in five World Cup games, including three shutouts during group play.

Why They Won’t Win

–   Luis Suarez, one of the team’s top offensive players, will not play in the semifinal game after an intentional goal-saving handball near the end of extra time versus Ghana.

–   They could be mentally and physically exhausted after the rollercoaster ride in the quarterfinals – and have had to play extra time compared to their Dutch opponents.

–   There will be too much weight on Diego Forlan to carry the offense with Suarez out in the semifinals.  Other than these two, no other on Uruguay has more than 3 shots on goal in the entire World Cup.

KP’s Final Thoughts

It already feels like Uruguay is living on borrowed time after the gift-wrapped win against Ghana.  On top of that, now they face a red-hot Netherlands team that knocked out Brazil and is undefeated in the World Cup.  The dream ends here. Predicted finish: 4th place


How They Got Here:

Netherlands 2, Denmark 0

Netherlands 1, Japan 0netherlands-soccer-crest

Netherlands 2, Cameroon 1

Netherlands 2, Slovakia 1 (2nd Round)

Netherlands 2, Brazil 1 (Quarterfinals)

Why They’ll Win

–   The Dutch were already able to come back from a one-goal deficit in the second half against top-ranked Brazil during the quarterfinals.  What other proof do you want?

–   They are undefeated in the World Cup, have a tremendous amount of balance – and if their injured starters can play at or near 100% – nothing will stop them.

Why They Won’t Win

–   Two Dutch starters – Robin van Persie and Joris Mathijsen – are not 100%, and their injuries may keep them off the field in the semifinals.

–   Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg has had to make the least number of saves of the remaining teams – and could be a hair rusty heading into stiffer competition.

KP’s Final Thoughts

The Dutch – coming off an emotional comeback win over Brazil – are playing hurt.  While they should have enough in the tank to knock off Uruguay, the nagging injuries could give the team a hit on depth – and therefore keep them from hoisting the trophy. Predicted Finish: 2nd place


How They Got Here:

Germany 4, Australia 0

Serbia 1, Germany 0germany-soccer-crest

Germany 1, Ghana 0

Germany 4, England 1 (2nd Round)

Germany 4, Argentina 0 (Quarterfinals)

Why They’ll Win

–   The German offense has been hard for opponents to stop – including three 4-goal games and 8 goals during the elimination rounds.

–   The Germans have two major goal scoring threats on offense, Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose – who each have four goals in the World Cup.

Why They Won’t Win

–   Not having Thomas Muller in the semifinal (after a very questionable yellow card due to an unintentional handball) will hurt Germany’s offense and depth.

–   Spain will throw a lot of new looks and offensive opportunities at Germany’s defense – specifically with a large volume of crosses (Spain leads the World Cup with 155 crosses)


KP’s Final Thoughts

Germany has been a very disciplined team, rarely making any major blunders on defense, while also having a relentless attack on offense.  If they were able to get by Spain in the semis, Muller would return for the final game – pushing them to a World Cup title.  Predicted finish: 1st place


How They Got Here:

Switzerland 1, Spain 0spain-soccer-crest

Spain 2, Honduras 0

Spain 2, Chile 1

Spain 1, Portugal 0

Spain 1, Paraguay 0

Why They’ll Win

–   The Spaniards don’t just have talent on offense, but on the defensive side – as Spain has only allowed two goals in five World Cup games.

–   In five games, David Villa has 5 goals, 22 shots, 11 shots on goal and 1 assist – in what has been one of the best (and most unstoppable) performances of the World Cup

–   Spain leads the World Cup in corner kicks – with 41.  They’ll need opportunities like this to try and keep up with the German offense.

Why They Won’t Win

–   Fernando Torres has only 2 shots on goal in 4 games started – and most opponents have managed to keep his game in check throughout the World Cup.

–   Sometimes, it’s a country’s will to find a way to win – and Spain has never finished any better than 4th place (in 1950) in the World Cup.  They have also had lapses in this year’s World Cup, losing to Switzerland and dropping a goal to a 10-man Chilean team.

KP’s Final Thoughts

Spain is the 2nd ranked team according to the FIFA world rankings – and was considered the favorite by many heading into the World Cup.  But facing a red-hot and very disciplined German team may prove to be too much, even for this talented group. Predicted finish: 3rd place


The 2010 FIFA World Cup Final Four: Uruguay, Netherlands, Germany and Spain

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