No one has earned the right to be called favorites more than Germany.
Germany is more than just a group of players. It's a system. It's not a star player, or lucky break. It's a system in which the parts are interchangeable.
It can be Podolski, Klose, Muller, Schweinsteiger, or Ozil who brings you down.
They play their style of football until the end.
The Germans a annihilated Australia to begin the cup. It was impressive, but it was Australia: Australia with a man down.
They had troubles against Serbia in a game that was entirely unlucky for them, and they fought back to beat Ghana in the last game.
They don't always impress, like the games with Serbia and Ghana, but when they want to they can go into another level. They can go into Champion Mode.
Few teams have shown this in the cup—this ability to maintain their game plan and genuinely play with their opponents, making them think they have a shot in the game before speeding up just in time.
Brazil did it to Portugal, Netherlands did it throughout group play, and today, Germany did it to perfection against an English team who legitimately thought it had a chance against them.
The USA did it as well, never giving up on its type of play; unfortunately, the team didn't necessarily have the talent to back it up.
The game between Argentina and Germany seems to many to be a final in the making, as both teams have shown commanding play.
The difference is that Germany won its Round of 16 match through pure efficiency and tactical supremacy.
Argentina won by capitalizing on opportunities given by the Mexican team. Germany won't give them those chances. They also won't be as forgiving as Mexico was when Argentina decided to hang back.
After the injury by Ballack, the young German players were forced to step up.
With much of the 2006 team missing, the Germans seem equally effective.
It goes back to the idea of a system. Star players are interchangeable, and the German system was successful in exchanging its old clogs for new wheels.
Ozil has grown increasingly confident with each game. Podolski continues to be dominant on the field.
The team is coming together with new leaders sprouting where the old ones have left off.
This German team has the structure, talent, and motivation to make it all the way through.
They won't have an easy draw, but the Germans are not prone to being intimidated.