World Cup Preview: Argentina vs Germany

The quarter-final clash between Argentina and Germany promises to make up for the lack of goals in this World Cup since both the teams have a somewhat weak defence and very good attacking line-up. Both teams are very strong in their attack and relatively weak in their defence which hold promise of some exciting and entertaining footballing moments. Add to that the history of rivalry between the two giants in World Cup and we can be sure of some vintage football today. In 2006 Germany beat Argentina on penalties in the quarter-finals, results which lead to a scuffle between some players and the coaching staff of the two teams making the fixture the most eagerly awaited contest of the World Cup2010.

Both teams, Germany because of their young and inexperienced players and Argentina, mainly due to their mercurial manager were not considered great threats coming in to the World Cup. Both teams have gotten to this stage of the tournament having overcome major challenges to reach the World Cup. So, will Diego Maradona’s men self-destruct or will Joachim Loew’s team find South American football too hot to handle?

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Argentina

Ranking: 7

Argentina have an exceptionally talented team going forward. Diego Maradona was criticized for some of his tactical decisions and team selections during Argentina’s qualification run to the World Cup but Maradona has got everything in the World Cup. Argentina’s performance against Mexico in the Round of 16 showed that the Albiceleste are growing stronger as we move into the business end of the tournament.  Maradona will most likely go with a 4-3-1-2 formation with Romero in goal. Otamendi, Demichelis, Burdisso and Heinze will need to keep calm at the back and control the midfield so that Angel Di Maria and Maxi Rodriguez can make their runs on the flanks and pass the ball to Messi.  Messi will then look to create chances for Higuain and Tevez who’ll play up front for Argentina.

Argentina have a better attacking force and superior players than Germany. They have the current World Player of the Year in Messi who is yet to open his scoring account at the World Cup.  Argentina’s  however do need to be extra focused and keep their formation, or else they will get caught out by Germany on the counter. Argentina’s defence is yet to be tested in this World Cup and Germany can be counted upon to test it. Argentina defender Demicheles will need to stop his Bayern Munich teammate Miroslav Klose who is in great form for Germany from scoring. Argentina will also need their captain Javier Mascherano who will have to play his part as defensive midfielder perfectly apart from shielding his back four, Mascherano will also need to keep Germany’s Mesut Ozil out.

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Germany

Ranking: 6

Joachim Loew’s German side is what many a football associations dream of; a team. Germany have managed to put together a bunch of footballers who aren’t stars as individuals but are absolutely sparkling as a team. The new German side is made up of a mix of youth and experience with a never-say-die attitude. Germany most certainly will be a force to reckon with come next World Cup. Joachim Loew’s side showed that they were masters of counter-attacks in their game against England. However, Argentina are no England and will pose a much tougher challenge for them. Loew will most likely play 4-2-3-1 formation with Miroslav Klose as the lone striker. Mueller, Oezil, Podolski will play just behind him with Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger playing as holding midfielders. Friedrich, Mertesacker, and Boateng will be at the back for Germany with Nuer in goal.

Germany are quite well organized and have a good defence. However, their defence has not been truly tested so far. They launch blinding, breathtaking counter-attacks and will look to do the same against Argentina.

Argentina have quality in their attack and hopefully in defence to win this match. Germany have probably been judged to be a little better than they are after they beat England. They were great against England, but the England team (under Fabio Capello) wasn’t a ‘real’ World Cup favourite. England was more of a ‘very well supported team’ rather than a very ‘likely to win the World Cup’ team.  Germany’s real test against a real top-class team will be today. I see Diego Maradona celebrating at the end of this fixture.

Manager Speak

“This time we will not need the Hand of God, because it is the will of God.” – Diego Maradona, Argentina manager

“They will definitely be extremely dangerous. I’m sure they will try and get a goal very soon. I don’t think they’ll come onto the pitch with any extra fear or respect.” – Joachim Loew, Germany manager

Players to Watch Out For

Argentina: Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez. Angel Di Maria

Germany: Miroslav Klose, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muellar, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Go Figure!

Diego Maradona is yet to draw a match as Argentina manager

Germany have only ever failed to score with one of their 18 shots in penalty shoot-outs at the World Cup

Miroslav Klose’s goal against England was the 12th of his World Cup career. Only Just Fontaine (13), Gerd Müller (14) and Ronaldo (15) have scored more at the tournament

Lionel Messi has attempted more shots (23) without scoring in this World Cup than any other player


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