Muller 3, Klose 67,89, Friedrich 74
Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium bore witness to the continuation of a glorious World Cup for Germany, as they swept aside a surprisingly lacklustre Argentina in the quarter-finals to emerge as true favourites for the title.
It was the margin of victory for The Nationalmannschaft that will send shockwaves through the remaining nations. They totally outclassed Diego Maradona’s side that had aspirations of winning their third World Cup. Germany’s killer counter-attack proved fruitful once more and yet again Thomas Muller , Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger ran the show and look more and more of a vital core to this German team as the tournament progresses. Muller scored one and his tireless running and assists have been a revelation. This marks his fourth goal in only his seventh cap, with every goal coming in South Africa, his suspension for the semi-final meeting with either Spain or Paraguay on Wednesday will be a massive blow which Germany will have to overcome if they want to reach their eighth World Cup Final. Expect Piotr Trochowski to fill in for the Bayern Munich wunderkind.
Miroslav Klose celebrated his 100th appearance for the national team with two goals, which equalled compatriot Gerd Muller’s 14 World Cup Finals goals and left him one behind Ronaldo’s record 15 goals. Klose proved once again that he is a master at scoring in World Cup’s and has the chance to break the record in what surely will be his final tournament for the national team.
Germany clearly had a game plan to combat the dangerous Lionel Messi, which they executed to perfection. They never allowed the magician to weave his magic, always closing him down and stifling him, before he could unleash his trademark assists. It harkened back to the 1990 World Cup final, where German defenders marked Maradona out of that game. Joachim Low’s team have now shipped eight goals past top ranked teams in England and Argentina and will feel confident of springing another “surprise” on Spain, should Vicente Del Bosque’s outfit overcome Paraguay.
The inevitable questions over Maradona’s ability to coach at the highest level will surface over the next few days. Nicolas Otamendi, the inexperienced right-back whom Maradona had so much faith in, was out of his depth in this game and was at fault for two of the goals, his foul to cause a free kick and failure to mark Muller properly add more fuel to the fire that Javier Zanetti should have been included in the 23 man squad and been the starter at righ-back.
The whole midfield and front line of Argentina looked bereft of ideas and rarely threatened Manuel Neuer’s goal. In fact Gonzalo Higuain’s tap-in that was disallowed amounted to their only clear-cut chance in the entire game. Messi was closed down constantly, which meant Carlos Tevez and top scorer for Argentina, Higuain had nothing to feed on. Angel Di Maria, so impressive earlier in the tournament had a quiet game, which did not help the cause. The game was crying out for Diego Milito to come on and liven up the attack. However the Inter Milan striker- who had an extraordinary season, was not called upon and his usage throughout the tournament, or lack thereof will have disappointed the South American fans.
Ultimately Maradona had not faced adversity in South Africa and when he did here against Germany, he did not have the answers. The team has played some of the best football in these finals and will be eager to improve upon this showing in Brazil in 2014.
Germany march on and on this form they will take some beating. The world has been put on notice.