Sunday, July 4, 2010

world cup thoughts of the day, part 2: the other quarterfinals and my final predictions

Told you so about Germany-Argentina! The team I've been touting since their first game against Australia came through again, though even I didn't expect them to destroy Maradona's side so comprehensively. Do you know when the last time was that a team scored 4 goals in a row in two straight games in the World Cup? It was Brazil, in its two final first round games against Scotland and New Zealand, way back in 1982. This was Germany, in two straight knockout phase matches, against two of the pre-tournament favorites. England had only given up one goal prior to facing Germany, and, let's be honest, it wasn't much of a goal. Argentina paid dearly, I think, for sticking with Higuain in attack over Milito. He was decent, and even created one good chance for himself, but in the end I just don't think he's nearly as good technically. Messi was brilliant as usual, but even he couldn't win the game by himself.

Spain again didn't live up to their quality, but did enough to beat Paraguay. They really started to play sometime after that bizarre sequence of play with the two missed penalties, and after Torres was replaced with Fabregas, who was excellent after coming on. The big question for Spain will be who starts in attack against Germany. Will del Bosque stick with Torres, who has yet to do much in this tournament except give the ball away, or go with Fabregas in a 4-5-1? Based on what I've seen, I'd have to go with Fabregas.

I'll still have to give this one to Germany though. Even without Muller, who is suspended for the semifinal after a really dubious yellow card for handball, they are too dynamic in attack. Never have I ever seen a team look so comfortable in the final third of the field. The tactics in this one will be interesting. Will the Germans let Spain possess and then break on the counter, or press the game, as they have done against all their other opponents, and as Paraguay did against Spain? Either way it has the makings of a classic game.

Netherlands are in the semifinal courtesy only of Brazil's self-destruction. Before their lucky fluke of a first goal, Brazil looked like they were going to double their lead at any moment. Credit to Netherlands, though, as they kept their heads, and Brazil certainly didn't. What was Felipe Melo thinking when he stomped on Robben? There were nearly 20 minutes left in the game, and Brazil again looked threatening, even if they were still rattled.

So there you go. Germany-Netherlands final, and Germany to win it all! But if Spain really get it together in the next few days, they could win it as well.

1 comment:

  1. so, it'll be a replay of the 1974 final ... germany wins 2-1, even though the Dutch score their first goal off the opening kickoff after a 15-touch sequence BEFORE GERMANY EVER TOUCHED THE BALL!! I wonder, though, if the Germans can beat Spain ... we shall see. Could be a great one -