Germany routed Argentina 4-0 and Spain sneaked past Paraguay 1-0 with a late goal from David Villa.
For the second day in a row, I was completely shocked by the early match. I picked Argentina to win, but I definitely thought Germany had a good chance, and it wasn’t Germany’s victory as much as the score of the game that really surprised me. Germany has looked strong thus far, and we knew they were capable of scoring. The real surprise in this game was Argentina’s failure to put one in the net. It has to be rather disappointing when you have Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, and Higuain on a team, and you get shut our in the World Cup Quarterfinals. Germany looked an awesome blend of young, creative, and organized today. Germany scored fairly early, but then didn’t strike again until midway through the 2nd half. Argentina’s defensive marking was poor throughout, but Germany deserves plenty of credit.
In the second game, Spain won a somewhat bizarre game with a late goal from David Villa after each team had penalty kicks blocked in the second half. First Spanish keeper Iker Casillas denied Oscar Cardozo. Then, Spain were awarded a penalty only moments later. Xabi Alonso stroked the shot home, but it was called back after the referee judged some Spanish players to have crossed the eighteen yard line before the ball was kicked. Alonso lined up to take it again, but this time Justo Villar guessed correctly and made the save. Spain kept the pressure on, though, and finally managed to get past Paraguay’s stingy defense in the 83rd minute. David Villa received the ball after Pedro’s shot bounced off the post, and Villa’s shot actually bounced off both uprights before rolling into the back of the net.
So, here are the semis:
My pick: Netherlands
Hey, if you beat Brazil, you’ve got my vote. Uruguay have looked a very solid team, but Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie, and the rest of the Dutch just look like they’re operating on all cylinders.
My pick: Spain
This should be a good one. It might seem crazy that I’m picking against a German team that just demolished Argentina 4-0 and destroyed England 4-1, especially considering that Spain haven’t exactly looked their most fearsome. Still, Spain are the more talented team overall, and if they play to their potential, they’re unstoppable offensively. Actually, the key to this game, unfortunately, might be the absence of Thomas Mueller, the young sparkplug of the German attack. Mueller received a yellow-card (rather ridiculously) for a handball during the Germany-Argentina match. Also, I’m not willing to bet against David Villa right now. He looks like he’s hit a run of form in which he’s almost guaranteed to bulge the net at least once each game. Whatever he’s doing between games, Fernando Torres needs to start. I can only imagine how good Spain would look right now if Torres was playing his best.
Let’s just hope I do better than I did in the quarterfinals. After finishing a respectable 6-8 in the Round of 16, I only managed to go 2-4 in this round.