What Happened

Germany rolled into the semifinals with a comfortable 4-0 victory.

Thomas Muller turned in a Bastian Schweinsteiger free kick after just three minutes to put Die Mannschaft in front early. A tense hour of play followed before Germany went up 2-0 thanks to Miroslav Klose’s 13th World Cup goal. 

After that, the floodgates opened. Argentina’s heads went down, and Germany took full advantage, with Arne Friedrich scoring his first ever international goal to make it 3-0. Klose would put the cherry on top with a fourth to draw level with countryman Gerd Muller on the all-time World Cup scoring chart, just one goal behind Ronaldo. (!)


Notes from Joe

- Germany haven’t played a bad game yet. And that includes their loss against Serbia, where they were the better team with ten men and created most of the chances. No other side has looked as cohesive. They attack and defend as a complete unit.

- Can’t believe how intelligent of a footballer Thomas Muller is at age 20. He’s got a the head of a seasoned veteran with a youthful body. That pass he played while lying down to feed Lukas Podolski in the build-up for the third goal was superb.

- Shame we won’t get to see Muller — one of the best players so far in the tournament — in the semifinals because of that booking. His arms were down and it really didn’t look like he knew much about handling that ball.

- Bastian Schweinsteiger was immense yet again in the centre of midfield. That’s type of “holding” midfielder I like to see. Smart, cool head, eye for a pass, knows when to close the opposition down, tough in the tackle, and dynamic enough to get forward. Looks to be a leader too. Noticed he went right over to Muller after the youngster was booked to make sure he got his focus back. He’s in my team of the tournament.

- Germany’s numerical advantage in midfield meant that Lionel Messi had to come deeper than usual to pick up the ball, which obviously limited his effectiveness. When Messi did have the ball further up the field, there would always be 2-3 Germans near him, so even when he did skip by Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira he’d be in tight.

- Germany looked their best when defending with a high line. Looked very organized executing the offside trap.

- Nightmare opening 15 minutes for Nicolas Otamendi. His poor marking on Muller led to the opening goal, he gave the ball away twice in dangerous areas, and was booked. He didn’t look too good on the build up to Germany’s second goal either and was mercifully taken off by Diego Maradona after that.

- How’s this for a bargain: In our World Cup fantasy draft auction (yes, we’re nerds), I bought Miroslav Klose for a buck. One dollar for the man who could be the all-time leading scorer in the World Cup when it’s all said and done. The guy is going to win me the pool!

- Great stat from @OptaJoe Miroslav Klose has scored more goals in the 2010 World Cup (4) than he did in the Bundesliga in 2009-10 (3).


Notes from Kristian

- Argentina were humiliated. Where are all the Diego lovers, now? All suddenly silenced. Maradona absolutely outcoached here. He need to alter his tactics and personnel at half time.

- Carlos Tevez is indeed a special player but he is so frustrating sometimes. He was dropping deeper and giving away possession too much when the score was 1-0.


Notes from James 

- Cannot wait for Diego’s media conference. Would not want to be front row.

- Forget the goals, most impressive part of Germany today is how they basically owned Lionel Messi. Brilliant.

- I feel for Lionel Messi, who will now be told he didn’t perform at the World Cup. Nonsense! He had a brilliant tournament. It’s tough without much help.

- Germany have now made two supposed World Cup contenders look very ordinary in must-win games. Anyone else getting the feeling we’re seeing the evolution  of a good young team turning into a great team at this World Cup?

- Maradona must have been the best ball handling coach at the World Cup. No coach gets more of the ball. World class.


Three Stars

1. Thomas Muller

2. Bastian Schweinsteiger

3. Miroslav Klose


Links: Wire recap I Box score