Argentina 0, Germany 4: It All Gets a Bit Lionel, Messi That Is, for Maradona
What a difference three days can make in football.
Just last week, pundits, and fans around the world were bemoaning the showing of the European sides in South Africa.
All South American teams had emerged from their group with Brazil and Argentina emerging as many people's favorites.
Now, both have gone home!
In a couples of hours, Uruguay could well be the only South American team left in the competition, if, as expected, Spain defeats Paraguay tonight. In the irony of all ironies, that would mean there will be three European sides left in the final four.
Who would bet against an all-European Final?
Before the World Cup, many wrote off the Germans. How foolish! You never, ever write-off the Germans.
They came without Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings. No matter if they lose in the semifinal, they will leave a better team.
They scored four against Australia. They scored four against England. Today, they scored four against Argentina.
Germany opened their account just three minutes in.
Bastian Schweinsteiger swung in a free-kick, which Thomas Mueller glanced past Sergio Romero, who was in no-man's land in the Argentinian goal.
Germany were in control for the next 20 minutes, but then retreated slightly, giving Argentina the impetus. However, for all the huffing and puffing, Argentina created nothing noteworthy.
The second half started as the first half ended. Again, Argentina had most of the ball but failed to create opportunities to really test Manuel Neuer in the German goal.
They paid for their lack of penetration in the 67th minute.
Instead of staying on the ground and waiting for a free-kick, Mueller flicked the ball to Lukas Podolski. who threaded the perfect ball in for Miroslav Klose to tap home.
The true test of any team is how they react when trailing. The Argentinians collapsed.
The excellent Schweinsteiger jinked past some half-hearted tackles and slotted the ball to defender Arne Friedrich who tapped home for his first international goal.
The icing on the cake came minutes from the end, when Klose volleyed home an Mesut Özil cross.
Game, set, match. Goodnight, Argentina.
While Klose now has 14 goals in World Cup competition, Lionel Messi left without one to his name.
All the star names promoted for the tournament have left: Kaká, Ronaldo, Rooney, and now Messi.
Meanwhile, some new stars have emerged in the German camp.
Schweinsteiger is surely player of the tournament to date, while Philip Lahm played a captain's role today.
Mueller and Klose were massive for Germany up front today.
Joachim Loew's exciting young team are now just 90 minutes from a World Cup Final. Meanwhile, it's all getting a bit Lionel, Messi that is, for Maradona.
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