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Yellow cloud hangs over Netherlands, Brazil

July 1st, 2010

Kaka is one of a cluster of players treading a yellow card tightrope

Kaka is one of a cluster of players treading a yellow card tightrope in Friday’s Soccer World Cup quarterfinal between The Netherlands and Brazil.

The Real Madrid playmaker is joined by Luis Fabiano, Juan and Felipe Melo in the group of Brazilians who will miss a potential semifinal against Uruguay or Ghana if he picks up a booking in Friday’s game.

Kaka has already had to sit out Brazil‘s closing group game against Portugal after being sent off for two yellow cards in the 3-1 win over Côte d’Ivoire.

The Dutch are in an even more precarious position than Brazil with no fewer than seven of their side in danger of missing the semifinal should they prevail.

Friday’s game is being refereed by Japan’s Yuichi Nishimura, who dished out the first red card of the World Cup when he sent off Uruguay midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro for two bookings, the second for a wild tackle on France’s Bakary Sagna.

He was also in charge of Spain’s 2-0 win over Honduras, awarding a penalty, which David Villa missed, when Emilio Izaguirre brought down Jesus Navas on the edge of the area.

Brazil must start without Benfica star Ramires, who misses the quarterfinal at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium after earning his second yellow card of the tournament against Chile.

Arjen Robben, booked in Holland’s 2-1 last 16 win over Slovakia, and Robin van Persie are among the group of Dutch players hoping not to suffer anew the wrath of the referee in Port Elizabeth.

On the plus side Fifa has announced that for the semifinals any bookings received in the first group round, last 16 or quarterfinals, will be cancelled.

That means if Kaka or any other player is booked in the semifinal he will still be able to take part in the final in Soccer City on July 11.

In 1990 Argentina’s Claudio Caniggia missed the final after receiving bookings in the group stage and quarterfinal.

In 2002 Germany playmaker Michael Ballack also had to sit out the big one after bookings in the last 16 and semifinal.


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