Germany march into the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup against Argentina, one of the favourites to win the tournament. Joachim Loew’s side was dismissed at the beginning of the tournament after captain Michael Ballack was ruled out with an injury, and was overlooked because of the fact that many of Loew’s squad are under the age of 25. Despite early predictions from many journalists, Die Mannschaft fights on. Germany has exceeded all expectations placed on them by the German public and the German media just ahead of the tournament, and have now begun to capture worldwide attention after the performances of key players like Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller.
Argentina, who sneaked into the World Cup after a very poor qualifying campaign, have played some very expansive football so far during the World Cup tournament and have electrified fans with their flair and their creativity through players like Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez. Diego Maradona, an absolute legend of Argentinian football, is the man who takes responsibility for Argentina’s style of play and success. Maradona won the World Cup against Germany in 1986, and lost it to the Germans in 1990. He will have revenge in mind on Saturday when the two sides meet.
Germany will lineup very similarly to the way they have done.
Neuer – Lahm, Mertesacker, Friedrich, Boateng – Schweinsteiger, Khedira – Mueller, Ozil, Podolski – Klose
Germany will look to play the counter-attacking football that saw them thump England in the Round of 16. They will look to shut out the creativity of Lionel Messi and not allow space to any of Argentina’s dangermen. Mueller and Ozil seem to be able to make something out of nothing in an instant. Despite their very young age, Mueller only 20 and Ozil just 21, they have been two of the players of the tournament. Those two could be the difference in this tie, with their ability to either score or create with perfect skill.
Argentina will play a flat back-line that includes four naturally-central defenders. This will allow Argentina to maintain defensive shape when Germany spring a counter-attack. If Argentina can press the Germans into their own half, and keep four men back to be invulnerable to the German counter-attack, Argentina may well walk away with the victory here. But, with the pace of Ozil and Podolski and the dynamism of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Argentina may have more on their hands than they can handle.
Romero – Otamendi, Demichelis, Samuel, Heinze – Maxi Rodriguez, Mascherano, Di Maria – Messi, Tevez, Higuain
This match could end up being very similar to the Netherlands – Brazil fixture, which saw the Dutch upset the Brazilians and push into the semi-finals. Brazil attacked and attacked but the Netherlands were able to hold them off and counter-attack, and made it count on the set-piece as well, which is another tactic Germany will use because of their superior size in comparison to the Argentinians. There could still be another South American upset on the cards here, and we could see three European nations in the semi-finals after all.
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