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Top 10 World Cup memories: No. 4 - Germany 4-0 Argentina

Posted by On June 07, 2018


Top 10 World Cup memories: No. 4 - Germany 4-0 Argentina

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Top 10 World Cup memories: No. 4 - Germany 4-0 Argentina

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Japan Read By Jayaditya Gupta Top 10 World Cup memories: No. 4 - Germany 4-0 Argentina
The evergreen Miroslav Klose scored twice against Argentina.
The e vergreen Miroslav Klose scored twice against Argentina.

In this special 10-part series, ESPN's Jayaditya Gupta, who has attended every World Cup since 2002, recalls his favourite matches from the tournament. At No. 4 is a game from 2010 where Argentina never looked like they had a plan against Germany -- and ended up paying the price.

The context

The quarter-finals, with Argentina having beaten Mexico and Germany beating England in the previous round. The winners would go on to meet Spain in the semis.

The match

Germany 2006 was, you could sense, the start of something good. But few were prepared for just how good they could be four years down the line. Some of the old guard were still around: Lahm, now captain, and Schweinsteiger, now midfield general, along with the evergreen Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. The difference was the addition of Manuel Neuer in goal, Mesut Ozil in midfield and Thomas Mueller as a roving forward. They came into this match on the back of their 4-1 hammering of England in the Round of 16, the speed of their counterattacking style taking England -- and many neutrals watching -- by surprise.

But now they faced the Argentina of Messi, Tevez, Mascherano and Higuain. Surely they would be found out. Surely the youth of Ozil and Mueller would crack against the traditionally hard-nosed Argentinian defending. The Germans had other plans. They took the lead early, Schweinsteiger's free-kick headed home by Mueller, and then took charge of the match, with Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Podolski dominating the centre and the flanks.

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Argentina -- their most creative midfielder, Juan Sebastian Veron, inexplicably on the bench -- had no answer to their speed and passing, and it was only in the second half that they began asserting themselves. Germany r emained in control, allowing their opponents to fire in long-range shots which Neuer dealt with easily. This also opened up the gaps in Argentina's defence and the result was only a matter of time. Klose scored twice but the goal in between was a thing of beauty: Schweinsteiger receiving the ball just outside the left of the box, skipping past three opponents (to be fair, none went in for the tackle) and pulling the ball back for Arne Friedrich to tap in.

Coach Diego Maradona didn't seem to have a plan to make best use of Messi, who did not score even once at the 2010 World Cup.
Coach Diego Maradona didn't seem to have a plan to make best use of Messi, who did not score even once at the 2010 World Cup.

The memories

The big picture here was not merely Germany's third four-goal game in this tournament (including Australia in the group stage) but the multi-ethnic team they fielded. The names on the team-sheet tell the story: Khedira, Ozil and Boateng in the first XI and Aogo, Gomez, Cacau and Serdar Tasci on the bench. This mix added a layer of flair and complexity to the traditional German principles of organization, discipline and, perhaps, predictability. They gave coach Joachim Low the tools to create the new, exciting Germany. They were the best team on display at this dour, largely sterile tournament, scoring as many goals in two knockout games as did the eventual winners, Spain, in the entire tournament.

Postscript

Spare a thought, though, for Argentina. All that talent, coached by Diego Maradona, and nothing to show for it. Maradona, as I wrote at the time, never looked like he had a plan, too ofte n winging it and eventually being caught out by Germany. Most crucially, he didn't seem to have a plan to make best use of Messi, playing him too deep to be effective. Messi came into the World Cup with 47 goals for Barcelona in the 2009-10 season. He left South Africa with zero goals in five games.

Source: Google News Argentina | Netizen 24 Argentina


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