>We’re down to eight at the 2010 World Cup, with four South Americans, three Europeans and one African nation left, so here’s the guide to watch to expect from the quarter-finals.
*Uruguay v Ghana’*July 2, Johannesburg’’‘Form'’Uruguay 0 France 0’‘Uruguay 3 South Africa 0'’Uruguay 1 Mexico 0’‘Uruguay 2 Korea Republic 1La Celeste have displayed some impressive form, winning their last three matches with Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan leading the way. They have tended to sit on their leads when they get them, but have some real quality in the final third.Team NewsUruguay have lost key defender Diego Godin to injury for this match with Mauricio Victorino to replace him. Godin is suffering from a pulled muscle and could be in doubt for the rest of the tournament. Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez has named his team early again and he’s kept faith in his dangerous frontmen Suarez and Forlan alongside Edison Cavani.Form'’Ghana 1 Serbia 0’‘Ghana 1 Australia 1'’Ghana 0 Germany 1’‘Ghana 2 USA 1 (AET)The Black Stars’ form is okay, but after 90 minutes they’ve only won one match this whole World Cup. Finding avenues to goal has been difficult too with their four goals coming from two penalties and two opposition mistakes.Team News’’
Asamoah Gyan has been Ghana’s star in South Africa, with three goals to his name including the extra-time winner against the USA. The bad news is creative midfielder Andre Ayew and defender Jonathan Mensah are both out suspended, which may open the door for Samuel Inkoom who impressed off the bench against USA.
*Netherlands v Brazil’*July 2, Port Elizabeth’
Form’‘Netherlands 2 Denmark 0'’Netherlands 1 Japan 0’‘Netherlands 2 Cameroon 1'’Netherlands 2 Slovakia 1
The Dutch are enjoying some rare form with a fantastic run of four straight wins in South Africa. Their opponents haven’t been at the level of Brazil, but you can only beat who is in front of you.
Dutch star Arjen Robben got through 70 minutes against Slovakia following injury and that’s great news for the Netherlands as he’ll be crucial to their hopes of defeating Brazil. Beyond that, there’s few worries although boss Bert van Marwijk knows they’ll be underdogs in this one.
Form’‘Brazil 2 DPR Korea 1'’Brazil 3 Ivory Coast 1’‘Brazil 0 Portugal 0'’Brazil 3 Chile 0
The Brazilians are yet to really set the world on fire, but in their business-like style they’ve been recorded solid wins. The 3-0 thrashing of Chile certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in an ominous sign for the rest of the tournament with Luis Fabiano scoring again, while Robinho got on the scoresheet too.
Midfielder Elano, who has scored two goals in South Africa, is out with an ankle injury and he could miss the rest of the tournament. Brazilian star Kaka is on a tightrope having accumulated three yellow cards during the World Cup. Another against the Dutch and he’ll be suspended, provided they continue on that is!
*Argentina v Germany’*July 3, Cape Town’
Form’‘Argentina 1 Nigeria 0'’Argentina 4 Korea Republic 1’‘Argentina 2 Greece 0'’Argentina 3 Mexico 1
Diego Maradona’s men have been most impressive in South Africa with four out of four, including conclusive victories over Round of 16 pair Mexico and Korea. Lionel Messi, incredibly, hasn’t scored yet while Gonzalo Higuain has been prolific. You wonder, though, against stronger opposition how their defence will hold up.
It is hard to see Maradona messing around much with the Argentina side following on from their impressive form. Messi, Higuain and Carlos Tevez up front is quite frightening, while their defence has been good enough so far, but the Germans will be a big challenge.
Form’‘Germany 4 Australia 0'’Germany 0 Serbia 1’‘Germany 1 Ghana 0'’Germany 4 England 1
It’s been a strong tournament for Die Mannschaft, with inconsistent results, but in typically German fashion they carved out a spot in the final eight for themselves. Mesut Oezil has been a star, while another youngster Thomas Mueller, is enjoying life in South Africa.
Germany are likely to be without forward Cacau again due to injury. Otherwise there’s no injury or suspension worries for the youthful Germans, who will hope to do like they did four years ago and knock out the Argentinians at the quarter-final stage.
*Paraguay v Spain’*July 3, Johannesburg’
Form’‘Paraguay 1 Italy 1'’Paraguay 2 Slovakia 0’‘Paraguay 0 New Zealand 0'’Paraguay 0 (5) Japan 0 (3)
The Paraguayans find themselves in the quarter-finals, despite having won just one match after 90 minutes. The reality is they haven’t been overly impressive, but they got through a relatively weak group and beyond the Blue Samurai by holding their nerve. Spain will present a challenge on a whole new level though.
Paraguay failed to create many openings against Japan and may need to reconfigure their forward line against the Spanish. They’ll definitely employ different tactics against the European champions. There’s few other worries for Gerardo Martino’s men.
Form’‘Spain 0 Switzerland 1'’Spain 2 Honduras 0’‘Spain 2 Chile 1'’Spain 1 Portugal 0
Euro 2008 champions and pre-World Cup favourites have overcome a slow start to win their last three matches, albeit without conviction. They say they’ve been forced into grinding out results due to the opening game loss and you’d think they’ll slowly get better as the tournament wears on.
Fernando Torres’ woes in front of goal are Spain’s only major concern. It’s hard to see boss Vicente Del Bosque dropping Torres for Joseba Llorente, though, especially with David Villa scoring the goals. You fancy Del Bosque won’t need to tinker much.