Who Were Those Guys?

Football came back after a couple of days off with a nervous, but highly entertaining match. In what had to be touted as the match-up of the quarterfinals, Germany clipped Argentina with penalty kicks 1-1 (4-2).

Germany reverted back to the old-style, looking adequate in defense, but showing no offense. I’m not sure who the guys were in the blue. They looked nothing like the Argentinian team that was playing up to now. Playing a very solid team–in that team’s home, in the quarterfinals, would tend to do that to you. It also didn’t help that the keeper went out with an injury that screwed up the substitution rotation. Peckerman opted for fresh legs in the midfield rather than bolster a flagging front line. Hindsight is 20/20, but that was clearly the wrong choice now.

Despite both teams being the class of the tournament going in, offenses clipping away at a steady clip. Chances were hard to come by for either side.

You never liked Argentina’s chances if it came down to kicks. Germany, at home would have been enough, but the Argies also had to cope with their number two keeper guarding the net. He did a fair job of it, though.

In the end it was the home crowd lifting up the tired Germans just enough to beat the dead Argentinian legs. By that time, every one of Argentina’s main scoring threats were on the bench watching.

Klinsmann’s American training tactics seem to have paid off a little as well. Except for Ballack, who might need to get with the program, the German side looked fresher at the end than the South American’s did.

This sets up a very possible German/Italy match in the semis (please don’t let Ukraine win). Perhaps not as thrilling as Italy/Argentina with both sides on their games would have been, but still…

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