The mighty Brazil have been the name on everyone's lips as favorites to win the 2010 World Cup.
Virtually every bookie has listed them as clear front-runners to achieve the ultimate glory in South Africa but can the Dutch be the ones provide an early upset for Dunga's men?
It's very hard to pick out a weakness in Brazil's starting eleven as their team excels at all facets of the game. Júlio César is a top-class keeper who helped Inter Milan to a historic treble season which concluded with Champions League glory. His teammate at Inter, Lúcio anchors the Brazilan defense alongside the steady Juan and Maicon is quite possibly the best wing-back in the world.
Kaká had a difficult first season at Real Madrid but it's very hard to underestimate a player who possesses such sublime skill and has been awarded virtually every possible individual honour in the sport. Ramires is the midfield engine and seems to possess such terrific stamina to appear to be everywhere at once.
Robinho, though sometimes enigmatic, plays like an absolute world-beater on his day and is finding his form at the right time. Luís Fabiano is a goal-poacher and his record in international competitions is quite impressive.
The Brazilians made a strong side in Chile look very ordinary and easily dismantled them 3-0. Will the Dutch suffer a similar fate or do they have what it takes to send home the team destined to be crowned champions in South Africa?
I would say that Holland's weak point is their defense. Compared to Brazil, I don't think the Netherlands boast as solid or as imposing defenders. Keeper Maarten Stekelenburg does not have the big-game experience of Júlio César but has shown significant promise. If their back line can hold, they will have a decent chance as their attacking options may be even greater than the Brazilians' flair.
Wesley Sneijder has had a fantastic tournament thus far and is wonderful distributor providing his forwards with excellent service. Arjen Robben is known mostly for his ability to make lightning-quick runs down the wing but also packs a powerful shot, often scoring from long distances. His jaw-dropping goals in Bayern Munich's Champions League run came at opportune times on their way to the final.
Robin van Persie has not been at his best of late but is a terrific all-around forward and occasionally displays strokes of genius. Dirk Kuyt though might be the key man for the Dutch as he's constantly raised his game on the big occasion in the Champions League for Liverpool. When a goal is needed, the never-say-die Kuyt seems to always deliver.
Eljero Elia is a weapon that could be used off the bench and has an unbelievable ability to quickly get past defenders. If needed, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar could come on provide a late goal as he did against Cameroon scoring the winner in the 83rd minute.
Holland must perform as a unit if they are to get through to the semifinals. They have all the pieces in attack to give Brazil a good run for their money. If the "Clockwork Orange" can play the stunning football they're capable of, they should send the Brazilian favorites home early.
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