Saturday, July 01, 2006

Post 200: Last Words On Germany vs Argentina


Germany 1 - 1 Argentina
(Germany win 4 - 2 on penalties)

Football's a cruel thing isn't it. One mistake. One wrong move and your dreams will come crashing down. And especially your sadness and joy is being decided by penalties, as if it's hanging on by a thread. It's only just THIS close to be at the top of the world, but there bound to be a loser when there is a winner, and the winner last night was German spirit, while the loser was the Argentina, not only losing it on penalties, but losing their sportsmanship as well. The handbags at the end of the game was a shame and shouldn't have happened. But we're not sure what made Gabriel Heinze so incensed that he was like a raging mad man with an intention of killing Olivier Bierhoff. Whatever's the case, Germany is through to the semi-finals and to me, they looked on course for the finals yet again.

First Half:

As expected, the match was pretty cagey and both sides struggled to find the opening as their defence held firm. Usually matches like this are meant to be quite slow paced and maybe I should quote 'boring'. Both teams would not want to concede the first goal therefore always starts very cautiously with at least 7 players behind the ball and theother 3 upfront trying to find gaps in the opposition defence where they can exploit. It was just like that in the first half anyway. Both teams had men behind the ball and therefore isolated their forwards uptop and to be honest, both Argentina and Germany's forward got lost and were annonymous during the first half. Oh, actually in the first half, both teams looked like they were just playing out the time and were extremely patient. But it was hotly contested and tackles were flying in, man marking was evident and zone pressing were effective for the defence, nuiance to the offence.

Second Half:

No point being defensive throughout the whole game though. The objective's to score a goal isn't it? Argentina seemed to have a little rythmn with them as Carlos Tevez impressed yet again with his movement on the field and also his contributions. He's the Argentina's Wayne Rooney and this comparison doesn't flatter both the players, as it seemed like they're the mould of each other. Stocky and strong, but packed with pace and power. But Rooney is a more direct type of player whom run into your face while Tevez seemed to be a little more nimble and his ability to find a way past the defence without getting his face smacked.

But the goal came from the unlikey source. Roberto Ayala of Valencia, was picked out by Juan Riquelme's corner and he was at hand to head home past a helpless Lehmann. It was apparent that the goal was a mistake from Per Mertesacker, who was supposed to mark Ayala but lost him and Klose was never going to cover the ground in that amount of time. The goal changed the tempo of the game and also the mentality and psychological state of the players. Argentina looked confident after that and nearly got the second after some good work from Riquelme. Germany on the other hand, still looked really toothless and never at all worked Abbondanzieri, who as a virtual spectator. But his participation came to an end when Klose's knees crashed against his ribs during one of the penalty box melee. Leo Franco was brought on to replace him.

Argentina's Tactical Mistake:

Actually, it was not a tactical mistake, more of a carelessness in the substitutions. So the goalkeeper's injury forced Pekerman to make a change. So he's left with 2 substitutions and the mistake was to take Riquelme out. He wasn't at his best, but he is clearly the pivot of the team and the funnel of Argentina's attacking prowess. When Argentina was leading 1-0, they changed Riquelme out for a more defensive Esteban Cambiasso and sent a signal to the German camp that they're ready to hold on to their lead. Little did Argentina expected that Germany soon equalised and Argentina is left with 2 strikers and a whole lot of defenive midfielder and no creativity and an extra man to help out Cruz and Tevez. They left themselves with no backdoor then, and paid for it.

So the score remained 1-1 till extra time. Up till then players from both sides are clearly fatigued especially Michael Ballack, who looked knackered. Without any way of seperating this two sides, penalty shoot out was inevitable. Both sides goes into the shoot out with excellent records, who 0 loses on penalty shoot out in the World Cup. But surely GermanĂ˝'s home support is the key, and of course Kahn's encouragement to Jens Lehmann! This pic below is PRICELESS.

The only way of seperating this 2 great footballing sides was the cruel way of taking the penalties. It looks easy, but you've got to understand how much pressure this players are under and of course standing right infront of you is Mad Jens Lehmann! He was the hero as he made 2 crucial saves to deny Ayala and Cambiasso. The Germans were estatic with Beckenbauer and their ministers looking on, they live to fight another day and next it is going to be Italy.

And this is disgraceful. Let's wait and hear for more of what actually happened. But it just speaks of the tension during the penalty shoot out, the emotion running high and sometimes these footballers just lose control of their temper and senses. So Argentina crash out of the competition quite disappointingly, as they are one of the teams that performed really well throughout the course of the competition. But so did Germany.

No comments: