South America vs Europe in WC semis
by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – THE World Cup resumes in Brazil on Tuesday with potentially explosive duels featuring South American favourites and European hopefuls for the two berths in the final of arguably the world’s biggest sporting events.
Hosts Brazil, the record winners of the tournament, tackle high-flying
Germany in the first final at Estadio Mineirao on Tuesday in a repeat of the 2002 final that saw a Ronaldo-inspired Brazil beat the Europeans 2-0
Ironically, the man who masterminded the fall of the Germans, Luiz Felipe
Scolari, is back at the helm of the South Americans, who are aiming for sixth World Cup trophy.
The Selecao has nonetheless been unconvincing on its root to the semifinal, with Chile and Colombia stretching them to the limit in the knockout stages.
The team has also been rocked by the absence of the influential Neymar,
who is out with a back injury.
The fortunes of their Tuesday opponents are no better.
Germany, the three time World champions, needed extra time against African hopefuls Algeria and a solitary goal to boot 1998 winners France out of the tournament.
Elsewhere another South America versus Europe storm is brewing in Sao
Paulo where 2010 finalists The Netherlands play two time champions
An array of stars will be on show with Lionel Messi tipped to shine alongside Gonzalo Higuian and Sergio Aguero in the Argentian frontline.
The Netherlands, the infamous bridesmaids of previous World Cups, have its own ammunition in the form of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.
Ironically both sides, like their colleagues that clash on Tuesday, only
booked berths through slim margins.
Netherlands left it late against Mexico in the second round and needed a
penalty shootout to dispatch Costa Rica in the last eight.
Argentina scored identical 1-0 wins against Switzerland and later Belgium.
While it is a hard task picking two teams that will contest the final
scheduled for the coming weekend, South America and Europe have once more stamped their on the 84-year-old tournament.
The rest of the regions have another four years to wait to end the
stranglehold of the two continents on the tournament.
– CAJ News
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