Saturday, July 3, 2010

Argentina vs Germany - Preview


14:00 GMT, July 3, 2010
Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa

Few people expected Diego Maradona's Argentina to cruise into the quarter-finals with such serenity, but a side that looked chaotic and clueless during qualification for the World Cup has found harmony in South Africa and appear to be improving with every game.

Gonzalo Higuain jointly leads the tournament's goalscoring charts with four, Nicolas Otamendi put himself forward as the solution to La Albiceleste's problems at right back with accomplished performances against Greece and Mexico and Lionel Messi has tapped into previously elusive form with the national team and is yet to contribute goals.

With a supporting cast that features both star talent and experience, Argentina make a formidable attacking outfit. However, their defence is yet to face a stern test and has already showed signs of fallibility. Martin Demichelis gifted a goal to South Korea in the group stage, and the defensive unit as whole has lacked concentration on various occasions. Any slip up against a German side that humiliated England 4-1 in their second-round match could prove costly.
Despite the tender age of some of Joachim Low's youthful German side they have shown no fear, beating Australia 4-0 and then recovering from a blip against Serbia, when they played with ten men for 54 minutes, to beat Ghana and then England. Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil, who were plucked from the youth ranks, the latter from the Germans' UEFA Under-21 Championship winning side, are vital cogs in the high-tempo, attacking German machine.

Competition Stats

GoalsGonzalo Higuaín 4Thomas Müller 3
AssistsThomas Müller 3
YellowsJonás Gutiérrez 2Thomas Müller 1
RedsMiroslav Klose 1

Argentina player to watch: Carlos Tevez - Overshadowed by the mesmerising skills of Messi and the goals of Higuain in the group games, Tevez decided to grab some of the spotlight against Mexico by firing in a straight-to-YouTube classic and fuelling the technology debate with an offside opener. His high work rate and endless harassment of defenders was enough to retain a place in the team ahead of Diego Milito and Sergio Aguero and now that he has added a goalscoring touch there is no stopping the Manchester City striker.
Germany player to watch: Mesut Ozil - The Werder Bremen player has brought a touch of finesse and improvisation to the German midfield and was a key part of their crushing 4-1 victory over England in the last round. The youngster was a constant thorn in the side of the English defence, with his off-the-ball movement pulling players out of position and his clever passing opening avenues for the other attacking players. Ozil assisted the fourth and final goal in the 4-1 win, and also created four other goalscoring chances for his team-mates.
Key battle: Thomas Muller v Gabriel Heinze - Languishing in Bayern Munich's second team a year ago, Muller now leads Germany in both goals and assists at the World Cup. The 20-year-old scored his first international goal against Australia in the opening match and has grown in confidence since. The lanky player can stay out on the right flank or drift inside to make a useful target at the back post. Heinze will be the man charged with stopping Muller and will have to utilise all the dark arts in his repertoire to halt the German. Argentina have looked great going forwards but have been prone to lapses of concentration at the back.
Trivia: Diego Maradona has never seen Argentina draw a match under his 23-game tenure as manager of the side.
Stats: Lionel Messi has attempted the most shots (17) without scoring in the World Cup so far.
Odds: Argentina (2.30), Germany (3.40), the draw (3.10) are all on offer at Bet365. But a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes will get you 15.00.
Prediction: Both teams have issues at the back so it is unlikely that the match will be a defensive affair. Argentina have more ammunition going forward and are likely to edge a high-scoring quarter-final.

Argentin 3-1 Mexico
Germany 4-1 England
Argentina 2-0 Greece
Ghana 0-1 Germany
Argentina 4-1 South Korea

Germany 0-1 Serbia
Nigeria 0-1 Argentina
Germany 4-0 Australia
Argentina 5-0 Canada
Hungary 0-3 Germany

No comments:

Post a Comment