Germany and Argentina will face off in a rematch of the 2006 quarterfinals. And there is still some bad blood between the teams. Four years ago in Germany, the match was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes and went into extra time and penalties.
Roberto Ayala had opened the scoring in the 49th minute, but Germany’s star striker Miroslav Klose had tied the game with ten minutes to play. Germany ended up winning the match 4-2 in the penalty shootout. After the last penalty a shoving match ensued between the two sides involving players and team officials.
Germany’s midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has recently accused the Argentinean side of showing a lack of respect and trying to provoke other players. He pointed to an incident in Argentina’s 3-1 victory over Mexico in the Round-of-16. Argentinean and Mexican players got into it at half time, and Schweinsteiger views the Argentineans as instigators.
He warned his teammates not to react to possible provocations and just play their game.
Two true soccer-superpowers face off in Germany and Argentina. Germany has won the World Cup three times, finished runner-up four times and came in third three times. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals in 1994 and 1998, but made it to at least the semis in 2002 and 2006.
Argentina has won the World Cup twice, in 1978 and 1986. They finished runner up in 1990. They made it to the quarterfinals in 1998 and 2006, but were eliminated in the group stage in 2002. They have arguably the best player in the world on their side in Lionel Messi.
The Argentinean squad cruised through the group stage, beating Nigeria 1-0, South Korea 4-1, and Greece 2-0. They have scored ten goals and conceded only two in their four matches so far. However, they have yet to face a tough opponent.
Mexico was arguably their strongest opponent on the way to the quarterfinals, but El Tri haven’t played to their potential at this year’s World Cup. Argentinean striker Gonzalo Higuain is tied with Slovakia’s Robert Vittek and Spain’s David Villa for most goals in the tournament at four.
Argentina will face its first tough test against Germany and it will be interesting to see how they react. Germany can keep the Argentinean attack in check, and will make it tough for Messi and Higuain to unfold their game.
It will be interesting to see how Argentinean coach Diego Maradona reacts, should his team face some adversity against Germany. So far, it looks like Maradon has done everything right by juggling his starting XI. It seems like he is the motivator that the side needed to get to the top.
However, he has the potential to lose his cool, should his squad go down early, and we will see what effect that has on his coaching.
Germany had a great opener against Australia beating the Socceroos 4-0. The young side struggled against Serbia and Ghana, but erased any doubts about their level of play in a strong showing against England.
They benefited from the referees failure to see that the ball crossed the line on Steven Gerrard’s shot, but they looked better than the English all along.
Young midfielder Mesut Oezil is having a breakout tournament in the absence of Michael Ballack, and has shown that he can pick apart defenses. Thomas Mueller leads the squad in scoring with three goals. Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski have two goals each.
Argentina goes into the matchup as the slight favorite, but this is a tough one to handicap. We haven’t seen how the Argentinean side reacts to adversity, and we don’t know how they will fare should they fall behind.
I could see this one going into extra time again. If you are with me, go to Pinnacle (+236) or 5Dimes (+230) for the best lines for a draw after 90 minutes! I think Germany will eventually come through, but I wouldn’t bet on them winning in regulation.