Well, its on again. Rematch number three for Germany and Argentina. Did I mention July 8 was an omen. 1986 was a 3-2 Argentina win while the Germans were victorious 1-0 in the 1990 World Cup.
Can Germany do what no other European country has ever done and hoist a World Cup trophy on South American soil? Will Brazils neighbors embarrass and humiliate them even further (if thats even possible) by taking home the Cup? And who will the millions of Brazilians cheer on, as theyre a country set adrift, no home team to support after the agonizing defeat by the Germans.
The Netherlands and Argentina played a game that was the antithesis of the Brazil, Germany show-down the day before; a well-played, strategic match that resulted in a draw. Both sides did a phenomenal job of shutting down any and all offensive attacks. Its just too bad the 120 minute battle ended in penalty kicks. The Netherlands was always going to be at a disadvantage in a PK shoot-out, having just had one against Costa Rica. No doubt a tape reviewed by Argentina many times over in preparation. The need to sub out Robin van Persie, who was once again invisible, left no option to exchange keepers. (The game winning strategy that proved effective in the win over Costa Rica). But the Netherlands made a critical strategic error, in my opinion, when forced to line up for penalty kicks in the draw with Argentina. As effectively as Ron Vlaar performed in his defensive duties during the entire game, endlessly shutting Lionel Messi down time and again, you dont put a defensive player unaccustomed to taking PKs in the number one spot. His miss was costly, and will be remembered more than his brilliant, overall performance.
I would have loved to see the Oranje go to the final. They would have lost to the Germans, but still, an all European final in South America would have been excellent. But look on the bright side Holland, you get to play Brazil for third place. Did ya see their game against Germany? Youre a shoe-in.
Im glad that Messi will get his day in the sun though. Hopefully its enough to tip the scale in his favor as far as comparisons go. The pressure to outshine, or at least pull level with the accomplishments of the iconic Maradona, has plagued him for years. Messis a phenomenal player and seems like an all-around nice, unassuming guy. He worked hard this tournament and deserves recognition. Not sayin Argentina will win, however, the Germans are just too amazing.
Arjen Robben deserves some props. My husband dislikes him on the grounds of dives and embellishment, which I cant dispute. His antics are legend.. But his over-all performance in this World Cup tells a different story. My respect for him grew by the end of the semi-final with his tireless work ethic and exceptional display of skills. This 30-year-old man, who played every minute of every game, including two 120 minutes performances, continued to work relentlessly at 110 %. A fact that deserves respect in my eyes. And you have to admit, watching him walk over to his wife and inconsolable six year-old son after the game, softens the perception. Good job Arjen. Cute kid you have there.