World Cup History 101, Lesson #1: The Netherlands
Unofficially, the best team in the world in the 1970s. Everyone, regardless of habitual sexual preference, wanted to do the wild thing with Johans Neeskens and Cruyff, and would have at least let the others watch. Officially, beaten in two consecutive World Cup finals by the hosts, West Germany in 1974, and Argentina in 1978. Threatened to do something in the 1990s but was halted by Brazil in 1994 (quarterfinal) and 1998 (semifinal).
World Cup History 101, Lesson #2: Uruguay
Winner of the inaugural World Cup as host in 1930, and again when Brazil hosted in 1950. Got to two subsequent semi-finals (1954 and 1970), lost both and got beaten in both third-place playoffs to boot. This is its first foray beyond the second round since 1970 – in fact, until putting three past South Africa in the second group match, Uruguay hadn't actually won a World Cup finals match since beating South Korea 1-0 in 1990.
World Cup History 101, Lesson #3: The Netherlands v Uruguay
These two have only met once, in the first round in 1974: the Dutch won 2-0 thanks to two goals from Johnny Rep. The Uruguayans were probably slightly distracted by a huge kerfuffle over cash – neither players nor staff would give media interviews without being guaranteed a wodge of the stuff, but Uruguay was a spent force in any case. That Netherlands side went on to beat Brazil and Argentina before that final defeat to West Germany.
Netherlands: Maarten Stekelenburg, Khalid Boulahrouz, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Mark van Bommel, Demy de Zeeuw, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie.
Uruguay: Fernando Muslera, Maxi Pereira, Diego Godin, Mauricio Victorino, Martin Caceres, Diego Perez, Walter Gargano, Egidio Arevalo, Alvaro Pereira, Edinson Cavani, Diego Forland.
To the couple of Dutch readers I seem to have upset by suggesting that the matches involving the Netherlands haven't exactly been riveting, I apologize. But I will just point out that, according to Opta, the Dutch have the lowest proportion of passes in opposition territory of all teams in South Africa, at 53%. Now let's leave it at that, eh?
National ditties: Uruguay's classical number has a few players biting air for a few bars ... it's almost like they're not entirely sure when to come in on this one. To be fair to them, the words and the tune aren't a perfect fit. The Oranje have taken over the stands, and get the volume up for their anthem.