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

Comments (26)

  1. Complete dominance!!!!!!!!!!!!! God I hate Maradonna………. Appears Argentina have been relying on talent until they came upon a real opponent and were shown to have no tactical ability whatsoever. Maradonna’s incompetence as a coach in full display.

  2. As I commented at the time: England didn’t play that bad against Germany, they did dominate the midfield and scored 2 goals (one wrongly disallowed) but couldn’t contain the fantastic counter-attack. While the huge pool of talent called Argentina scored a big goose-egg. Germany is a complete team, defensively, midfield and going forward. They all run the full length of the field to help out; forward and defending. Its still a team game.

    p.s. thanks Sid for toning down the hyperbole just enough so that I can appreciate your unique and interesting insights.

  3. Congrats to Germany. That was yet another masterclass. How many teams actually increase their goals output as they progress in the tourney? One for OptaJoe!

    Best thing to happen to Germany was losing Ballack. These kids want to fly. Not only would “Der Kaptan” have no chance of keeping up, he’d also insist the team play to his pace, not theirs. Instead Schweinsteiger is pulling strings and earning plaudits.

    I don’t want to turn everything into an England rant, but can’t help but notice the symmetry between the Germans and the English:
    *relegated players on squad
    *second choice GK
    *strikers with poor seasons
    *all players from domestic league.
    *”leader, hero, Captain” out before tourney started.

    All the things that people have been using as excuses are the exact same features of the hottest team in the tourney. No more excuses, England. Teach your players how to play the game!

    It’s up to Uruguay, maybe Paraguay, to maintain the record of European teams failing outside Europe. Spain (to a lesser degree), Holland, Germany are looking powerful.


  4. Yikes.
    At halftime, Shweinsteiger sliced through a tin can and a boot and was still sharp enough to cut through Argentine D like warm butter. I hear he’s making thinly sliced tomato salad now if anyone is interested.

  5. Sweet glory! I don’t care if my favourite, Germany, don’t win the World Cup. I just wanted them to beat Maradona’s Argentina and they’ve done it!

    Shame that players like Thomas Muller and Nigel de Jong will miss their next game because of this ridiculous two yellows and a suspension rule. Muller got his yellow and therefore suspension from an accidental handball, FIFA need to change this rule. Earlier in the game, di Maria had an intentional handball and was not booked.

  6. Notice how many attacking players for Argentina the German player went around to set up the 3rd goal. Note to Maradona – next time (if there is one) you might want to try for the old “balanced team” trick and bring some more defending players, including the odd fullback.

  7. Great post Bishopville Red!

  8. “including the odd fullback.”

    Good point.

    Decision seems even more curious when you see how bad Otamendi played, essentially as a centreback playing fullback.

  9. Wow, I can’t say I expected differently. At the begginning of the tournament I picked Germany to win it, and I laughed at the people who were like “they’re missing their captain, they’re too young” listen, this is a young man’s sport, and I mean, yes, experience is good. But just look at the Italians, too slow, uncreative. What you need is relative veterans surrounded by young exciting talent, and that’s just what Germany’s got, they will win the world cup.

  10. The entire team had an amazing day….i dont think one player had a poor game

  11. “They all run the full length of the field to help out; forward and defending. Its still a team game.”

    Their transition from defence to attack (and vice versa) is unmatched in this tournament.

  12. I noticed a common theme at this World Cup coaches who have refused to bring certain players who were definitely better options than the what was on those teams benches are all out.

    -France: Benzema ,Nasri, Menez, Mexes were better options; the whole team was a mess. Probably would not have made a difference at all.

    -Brazil: Ronaldinho, Pato,left home. The creative attackers off the bench were Nilmar, Baptista, Grafite. REALLY???

    -Argentina: Defense was finally exposed; Maradona refused to bring Cambiasso,Zanetti even Milito would have helped.

    -Italy: No Miccoli, Balotelli, Cassano; the forwards that did go really showed nothing in the tournament.

    Would these players have made a difference we will never know.

  13. Di Maria looked like world beater vs the likes of Stalteri, Ledgerwood, Johnson, Imhoff, etc but then did little to justify his presence in this tourney. So Cambiasso lost his place to this guy? And to Veron as well, who was rooted to the bench for this one and rightly so because he would have been killed by the pace of the opponent in question. (As an aside, I watched FSWC last night and the Scottish guy on there felt that Veron should have been in the starting 11 for today’s game. That gave me a good laugh!)

  14. This really isn’t a Argentina or Maradonna did something wrong story … this is a Germany is fanflippintastic story … superb all World Cup so far , as if that would shock anybody

  15. Maradona can’t be faulted for anything else then his pre game antics towards this strong (as usual) German team. The youth and age come together like wine, cheese and young women ;)
    Ballack wasn’t even needed and the goals are coming from almost everyone, something the rest of the teams in the World Cup are failing to provide.
    I always have said the German’s come to win and have the skill to beat anyone in this level.
    They deserve to be here, they showed they should be here and much like the Dutch they are living up to their skill level.

  16. Lampard,Gerrard,Barry,
    who are ya
    who are ya

    Xavi,Iniesta,Uzil,Schwensteiger make them look like pub players. Nothing but overhyped English media players.

  17. The funny thing is the English consoling themselves by saying tht thy scored on Germany but Argentina didn’t. So what!!. Argentina would maul England.

  18. Can’t believe this defence of Maradona’s team selection. In the end the defence was questionable. Why waste spots on geriatrics like Palermo and Veron, guys who are clearly past it for pace, and keep a guy like Cambiasso or even Zanetti. People were second guessing these selections from the get go and now it’s coming home to roost!

  19. Whoa. Stop talking about England already.

    The Germans pass, move and play like a team not like individuals like Argentina. Argentina need someone in the midfield aka a xavi or iniesta that feed the forwards – the two wingers and defensive holding mid masch obviously don’t cut it. That and their defense is pooh but we knew that already.

    Maradona is going to get sooooo fat. I wonder if you can have your stomach stapled twice? I guess we’ll find out.

  20. KJ. It is now time to give credit to the octupus!!!

  21. The critics were right about Maradona. The Argentinians might as well have had Madonna coaching them, as she, too, offers little substance, but lots of dancing on the sidelines. Today, no dancing, as the somber ballad playing as Maradona stood there was “This Used to Be My Playground”.

  22. First of all agree 100% with the observation re: Tevez….indeed it was the same weakness as displayed by Rooney. Trying to do his job and everyone else’s you end up with a striker playing behind four or five of his team mates. But Villa’s heroics notwithstanding the highlight of the tournament for me has been Schweinsteiger….I always enjoy watching a midfielder who is a rock when the opponent has the ball but who can create when need be. Keano or Vieria in their prime. Here’s to a Germany v Netherlands final….

  23. Watch out for Germany in future World Cups cause there still young!!. Jérôme Boateng, Mesut Özil & Thomas Müller are up and coming stars!!

  24. shame muller won’t be joining the semi’s… Bayern have somehting special
    what kind of a talking point could it be against spain? German’s are the antithesis of team football. All along I believed it was Maradona’s ego would sabotage Argentina…in the end he seemed passive and without conviction…it was sensed by the players and on lookers even before the first strike

  25. What’s up with James calling Miro Klose a donkey last night. C’mon boy!! The entire English side are donkeys. How many goals Rooney got? Yeah that’s right. Sore boy.

  26. With apologies to Orwell, I have seen the future, and it is a German football boot stamping on the face of world competitions — forever! Can you imagine this lot at Euro 2012? It’s going to be a race for 2nd place for all the rest of the competitors.

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