July 03, 2010

Argentina Meets Germany, Paraguay Meets Spain: In a rematch (of sorts) to the 1982 and 1986 World Cup finals and the 2006 quarterfinals, Argentina and Germany meet today in the World Cup quarterfinals. "This is why I'm in coaching in the first place, for games like this," said German coach Joachim Low. To get things started, German player Bastian Schweinsteiger said accused the Argentines of a lack of respect for the game. "You see how they gesticulate, how they try to influence the referee. That is not part of the game," he said. Argentina coach Diego Maradona's response: "What's the matter Schweinsteiger? Are you nervous?" Paraguay meets Spain later Saturday.

posted by rcade to soccer at 09:37 AM - 32 comments

Don't like Germany's uniform today. They play better when they look like Tottenham.

posted by rcade at 10:03 AM on July 03, 2010

Turning into Muller's tournament.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:07 AM on July 03, 2010

Muller's going to miss the semi now if Germany win, with that really harsh yellow card.

Hopefully Muller's day doesn't collapse like Melo's did yesterday.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:38 AM on July 03, 2010

They need to do something about the yellow card ban. Make it 3 at least. Or clear the books after the first round.

posted by yerfatma at 10:53 AM on July 03, 2010

Klose is a douche.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:56 AM on July 03, 2010

I've liked Argentina all through this tournament, but that yellow was shameless - I hope Argentina crumbles in the second half. And yeah - they need to clear yellow cards or raise the limit.

Right now, the incentive plays heavily to acting/diving - cards are rarely given and the possibility of removing an opposing player in the same game is reasonable. Beyond, that it's pure spitefulness - getting a player removed from a future game if they beat you in this one. Either way, non-sport behavior is rewarded.

posted by kokaku at 10:57 AM on July 03, 2010

After watching the highlights, I wonder if the yellow was really due to the incredibly lame & Teutonic jazz hands celebration after Müller's goal.

posted by yerfatma at 11:03 AM on July 03, 2010

They clear the yellows after this round.

If you have one after this round then the amnesty kicks in and you're back to zero. If you have two after this round then sorry, see you in the final. If you get there.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:06 AM on July 03, 2010

Like Brazil (and Italy) before them, Argentina's cynical strategy of dribbling at someone, looking for contact, falling on the ground and looking for a penalty seems to have failed to pay off. The Netherlands and Germany just seem to have been more interested in putting together a coordinated attack than showing off individual dribbling skills and complaining to the referee.

posted by googly at 11:39 AM on July 03, 2010

Stick a fork in this one. A pity for Argentina -- you get the feeling that they could have beaten most of the quarter-finalists, but not the Germans. You sort of have to bring a defence to the competition for that. It's also a real demonstration of how Löw has taken young talent and instilled tactical nous while retaining flair. Scary, really.

So, potentially Germany-Holland, and a reprise of 1974?

posted by etagloh at 11:41 AM on July 03, 2010

So England are now officially better than Argentina. Phew.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:50 AM on July 03, 2010

You sort of have to bring a defence to the competition for that.

Including defenders who play on the wings. I feel like Maradonna's insistence on playing 4 central defenders hurt them today. I don't think they would have won, but it would have been nice for the 3 guys up front if the ball could come up from somewhere other than the 20 yards in the middle.

posted by yerfatma at 11:56 AM on July 03, 2010

A German team that the neutrals can like, instead of just fearing and respecting? Never mind the Ballacks. Klose and Podolski's club managers must wonder why they only show up every four years.

Also worth noting: Paul the Oberhausen octopus is five for five.

posted by etagloh at 11:59 AM on July 03, 2010

Paul is not actually predicting so much as exhibiting supreme self-confidence in his own ability to telepathically control the entire German side. Remember, kids, the octopus is an awesome creature.

posted by kokaku at 12:13 PM on July 03, 2010

That octopus is scaring me--what if he next predicts something like David Hasslehoff for World Dictator?!?!

posted by billsaysthis at 12:47 PM on July 03, 2010

Zonal Marking had it right in their preview, that giving Mascherano no help in central midfield would expose Maradona's four centerback defensive structure as vulnerable to Germany's pace and passing. IMO Maradona needs to cultivate good two-way fullbacks as part of his strategy if he's to be a successful coach.

Though I don't like the dominant 4-2-3-1 formations so many teams are playing these days either.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:58 PM on July 03, 2010

A German team that the neutrals can like

Not in this lifetime.

posted by cjets at 01:14 PM on July 03, 2010

At this point, I'm rooting for either Spain or Germany to win so that New Zealand can claim they were the only undefeated team in the World Cup.

As for Muller's suspension, as I noted in the previous WC thread, I think there should be a post-game review of yellow cards, and allow ticky-tack ones like Muller's to be rescinded. Same for Robbie Findley's "hand ball" yellow card against Slovenia, though that wasn't as impactful.

posted by TheQatarian at 01:46 PM on July 03, 2010

As a US resident watching on ESPN, I'm rooting for whichever matchups result in less of John Harkes in my life. Ian Darke must have permanent pinch marks or bite marks inside his cheeks from trying to distract himself from the nonsense that comes out of that man. Even if Ally McCoist (or whomever Harkes knocked out of the booth) were as stupid, half the time it wouldn't be in English. Just today, I've caught the following:

"Paraguay know lots of opportunities will be few and far between."

(In re: wrongly disallowed goal) "He was in a good position. Unfortunately that position was offside."

posted by yerfatma at 03:20 PM on July 03, 2010

Paraguay are getting one of those frequent far and between opportunities right now...


Now it's Spain's turn!

Annnnd.... one more time with feeling.

Wow... just... wow.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:46 PM on July 03, 2010

Congratulations to Vicente del Bosque for solving that "not wanting to be favorites" problem. Can't see them getting by Germany, but with no Müller and the fact Spain manages to be just good enough each time, it's hard to say. Also, I have no idea what to think of Spain's defenders. Each has a great reputation, but they haven't looked good as a group.

posted by yerfatma at 04:26 PM on July 03, 2010

Spain's best defence is not those four defenders, it's the tiki-taka. They'll happily keep the ball for two hours if needs be, so I can't see them leaving the room behind for Germany's counter-attacks.

Of course, if Germany sneak an early goal... all bets are off.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:30 PM on July 03, 2010

From 'South America resurgent' after the second round to 'Europe has three of four semi-finalists'. Remarkable.

posted by etagloh at 04:47 PM on July 03, 2010

And it should have been three Europeans and one African.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:48 PM on July 03, 2010

Is John Harkes the best ESPN can do?? It's bad enough he rarely knows what he's talking about, but the guy is constantly shoving his nonsensical ramblings in between Ian Darke's calls. As a result, the broadcast sounds like there's two leads calling the game. What happened to Marcelo Balboa?? Sure, he wasn't the greatest as the 2nd guy either, but he's much easier to take and from what I remember he managed to make sense.

It looks like he's gonna get top billing for the final sitting next to the Pat Summerall-esque Martin Tyler. Damn shame. Tyler is brilliant in the broadcast booth. Allowing the picture to tell the story, while Harkes' pubescent voice completely muddles it up.

posted by Mobley at 04:56 PM on July 03, 2010

I shall miss Maradona's touchline operatics, but Germany not only look formidable, they are pleasing to watch. The speed with which their midfielders get up to support the front men is wonderful to behold and the intelligence of their runs is beautiful..runs are no good though if you don't have colleagues who can anticipate the run and deliver the ball, Germany have such types in abundance. They will take some beating.

posted by Fat Buddha at 05:27 PM on July 03, 2010

Harkes is probably there to make the broadcast more familiar sounding and (supposedly) palatable to US viewers.

A light duty counterpart to Darke, the stentorian, authoritative British schoolmaster.

If they had pulled Lalas out of the studio and put him in the booth with Darke, that would have been an upgrade.

And then Lalas' appearance would no longer matter, and he could revert back to his natural Geico caveman state.

It's painful to look at Lalas sitting behind the studio desk sporting a halfhearted grooming job and rented suit.

Would be great to see Harkes get promoted to being the lead announcer for all future Nigerian national team matches.

posted by beaverboard at 05:32 PM on July 03, 2010

Wow... just... wow.

That was just an unbelievable two minutes.

posted by cjets at 05:55 PM on July 03, 2010

Think yourselves lucky; you could have to put with the incomprehensible Adebayor

posted by Fat Buddha at 06:44 PM on July 03, 2010

What finally happened in that Paul the Octopus article? I started reading it and got sidetracked by the Paraguayan lingerie model/fan link and totally lost my train of thought.

posted by outonleave at 06:56 PM on July 03, 2010

Another spelling bee on ESPN?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:12 AM on July 04, 2010

I shall miss Maradona's touchline operatics

Loved watching the guy as a player, he still has passion for the game. He's more of a cheerleader than a coach, though.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:34 PM on July 04, 2010

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