2nd July 2010
The first of two quarter final days and this is where it really hots up. The weather is good and life is better. Enjoy!
Holland 2 Brazi 1
Venue: Blagg Acres
Sustenance: A glass of Advocaat and a bag of Dutch Edam crisps
If ever a tournament needed a result like this, then it was this one as the Dutch came from behind to dismantle a Brazilian side that lost control, composure and eventually the match. When Robhino scored after only 10 minutes it looked like business as usual but I've not been convinced by Brazil in this World Cup and Holland upped the pace in the second half and equalised after a dreadful mistake by the so-called best keeper in the tournament Júlio César.
With Brazil suddenly up against it, they imploded in spectacular fashion. Bastos, who needlesly kicked out out Robben in the first half, was lucky to stay on the pitch for a bad second foul that would have got him at least a yellow had he not already been booked, before Felipe Melo - whose superb through ball had enabled Robinho to score early on - was sent off for an appalling stamp on Robben again. Melo must have been a confused man as he tropped off, it was his head that applied the last touch to Wesley Sneijder's deep cross that eluded his keeper to bring Holland level.
Before Bastos was sent off in the 73rd minute, it had been Man of the Match Sneijder who had put the Dutch ahead on 68 minutes with an excellent header after the Brazilian defence had been opened up incisively from a corner back-flicked by Dirk Kuyt. After going behind and losing a man, Brazil lost all composure and the result seemed ensured as the Dutch had several half-chances to increase their lead.
As usual, the pundits were all stunned but this is no 1970 Brazil team and I'm as pleased as punch for the Dutch. With Uruguay facing them in the semi-final, Holland must really fancy their chances to go all the way now.
Uruguay 1 Ghana 1 (aet Uruguay won 4-2 on penalties)
Venue: Blagg Acres
I wanted some Uruguyan or Ghanian food - I really did - but I had not one email suggesting what I could cook so supporters of Uruguay might want to contact me in time for the semi-final
You always get at least one match like this every World Cup and this was 2010's; heartbreak and joy in equal measure and great entertainment for the neutral - even though ITV's coverage seemed to be trying to lead most of us into thinking we all had Ghanian roots somewhere.
Muntari scored a scorcher just before half-time to give Ghana the lead, his 40 yard shot catching everyone out, but a determined Uruguay struck back in the second with a cracking Forlan free kick ten minutes into the half.
The game ebbed and flowed and was always entertaining with Asamoah Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng a threat for the Africans but with Uruguay similarly a threat with their more considered approach. Nothing could be decided after 90 minutes so the game went into extra-time where the South Americans looked stronger in the first half only for Ghana to go on top in the second.
Then, with just seconds to go, the tension was racked up another notch when a Ghanain free kick caused chaos in the Uruguay defence before Suarez handled on the line. A red card was shown as a distraught Suarez trooped off but the same player was jumping for joy seconds later when Asamoah Gyan's penalty struck the bar. As Gyan slumped to his knees in horror the whistle blew for the end of the game and more penalties.
In the usual tension soaked minutes that followed, Gyan showed true mettle by taking Ghana's first and scoring and, although Maxi Pereira missed wildly for Uruguay, John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah missed for the Africans to send a jubilant Uruguay through to a clash against the Netherlands.
I suppose in the true spirit of sport we should mention that Suarez's deliberate handball on the line denied Ghana a perfectly good goal and his one match ban could see him back for the final if Uruguay get through. My feeling is though his loss could be crucial for the South Americans although I still think they are a tidy looking outfit.