Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Europeans seize back the advantage

Europeans seize back the advantage

Europeans seize back the advantage

When all five South American teams progressed through to the knockout stage of the World Cup, pundits were quick to observe that football was developing a distinctly Latin flavour. A week later and football tastes European again. Four years ago all four semifinalists were from Europe, this time it’s three out of four.

If it were not for Suarez’s last-minute handball against Ghana, there would not be a solitary representative from South America in the semifinals.

Brazil disappeared in the second half against the Dutch, Argentina crumbled against the pace of Germany’s counter-attack and Paraguay failed to maintain the intensity of their “closing down” game for the full 90 minutes against Spain. Only Uruguay survived the trial of the last eight, and that by the most dubious of means.

Unless the Uruguayans manage to upset the odds, South Africa will witness a European nation being crowned world champions outside of Europe for the first time.

With Suarez suspended for tonight’s clash with the Netherlands, the hopes of the non-European world rest with Diego Forlan.

This has been an amazing season for the striker, who while at Manchester United couldn’t find his way to the back of the net with a Sat Nav.
Extra-time goals against both Liverpool (in the semifinals) and Fulham (in the final) won the UEFA Europa League for his club Atletico Madrid. If tomorrow’s game does go to extra time, the Netherlands had better beware Uruguay’s number 10 lurking in the box.

The game could well turn out to be the battle of the two men who orchestrated victory in Europe’s two major club competitions this year.

While Forlan was taking the Europa League back to Madrid, Wesley Sneijder was inspiring Inter Milan to win the Champions League for the first time, in the Spanish capital.

Sneijder’s two goals against Brazil, although the first should have been accredited to Felipe Melo, sent the five-time winners crashing out of the tournament at the quarterfinal stage for the second World Cup running, in the biggest upset of the tournament so far.

Do not expect a fast, flowing game of football tonight. Both teams flood the midfield, leaving just one player up front with three playing behind him, in the modern way. While both teams love to have possession of the ball, the Uruguayans are equally confident sitting back and holding a strong back line.

With Sneijder on fire and Arjen Robben in the form of his life, it might just be time for Forlan’s luck to run out. If Sneijder wins the battle of Cape Town, the Dutch will be heading to their first final since 1978. As for the Uruguayans, they haven’t reached a final since 1950 when they beat Brazil in front of 199,954 spectators, the highest attended game of football in World Cup history.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release