Dirk Kuyt and the Netherlands secure their spot with a 3-2 win...
And once again Kuyt puts himself in the conversation for one of the players of the tournament.
With the win, Holland give themselves a chance at winning their first ever World Cup title, and Kuyt ensures that we'll see at least one Liverpool player in the final on Sunday. We're past the wondering and theorizing about how Kuyt fits into the Dutch side---we talked about it yesterday, he proved it against Uruguay, and he's starting to get the attention he deserves. Grubb's comments in the link to yesterday's post sums it up perfectly---his intelligence and selflessness are a quality that can't be ignored in a side that touts a constellation of attacking stars, and it's why he's been preferred to those with more flash and technical ability.
It's not as though Kuyt alone was responsible for the Dutch victory, and Uruguay once again proved to be resolute opposition. They were compact and resilient in the first half, and Diego Forlan's equalizer was well-deserved. The Dutch worked their way back into attack as the second half progressed, eventually taking the lead with Wesley Sneijder's deflected goal (offside by RvP, no less). Our man Kuyt later provided the cross for Arjen Robben's headed goal, the second assist of the tournament for Kuyt and the goal that proved to be the eventual winner. Maxi Periera brought one back for Uruguay in the dying minutes, but a flurry of chances went begging late for the South Americans and it was the Dutch that sealed progression.
It sets up another all-European final, as Germany and Spain face off later today in one of the most hotly anticipated matches of the tournament and a rematch of the Euro 2008 final. Spain won that one through Fernando Torres' first half chip of Mad Jens after a brilliant burst of pace and skill, which, as mentioned by anyone and everyone, has been somewhat lacking from Torres in South Africa. No need to keep revisiting it---we all know what he's capable of, and regardless of whether he's in the starting eleven today or not, he's got it in him to have a massive impact on today's proceedings.
Which brings us to the latter part of the banner, and one of the things I've been trying to avoid (largely successfully) since the World Cup started. The lack of Liverpool-related international football to cover in the coming weeks is a frightening prospect. Not because there will be a lack of "news"---quite the opposite. We're going to be inundated with plenty of speculation about who's coming and going, in addition to the already mind-numbing prospect of following the sale of the club.
Today alone we've got: Mascherano linked with Inter, David N'Gog in West Brom's sights, Torres putting Chelsea on hold, and Liverpool pursuing Rene Khrin and Bryan Ruiz. The latter seems to be involved in actual news, and it's not just because the Mirror has done a "10 Things You Need to Know" column, typically the mark of any legitimate transfer. Reports are ranging from Roy Hodgson opening talks with FC Twente to the club actually making an offer, but without any actual confirmation I suppose we can assume that there's some sort of something happening.
The Costa Rican winger isn't the first player this summer to be linked with the club and he won't be the last. As the World Cup winds down, transfer market dealings will most certainly ramp up, and I'll do my best to keep up with it all. That doesn't mean it will find it's way here---I think I'm most interested in what folks think the club needs to bring in and ship out. Look for that in the next week or so, and while I'm sure it will be difficult, try to enjoy Spain and Germany today.