Saturday, July 03, 2010
World Cup 2010 Game 59: Germany 4, Argentina 0
In my World Cup pool I had picked Argentina for this game all the way until the morning of, when I did a 180 and switched my pick to Germany.
Sometimes it helps to have a few hard games out of the way, to be challenged and forced to elevate your game. Argentina had looked very impressive, but its competition had yet to include a Top 10 ranked team (Nigeria-21, South Korea-47, Greece-13, Mexico-17). Also, people forget that Argentina was up and down during qualification and actually, until the last game or two was in danger of missing the World Cup altogether or having to play the play-in series against Costa Rica. Which is to say, I kind of felt like Argentina was a bit inconsistent and would have a bad game somewhere.
Germany, after it's 4-0 win over Australia was a bit undervalued because of its loss to Serbia. They had to play most of that game with 10 men, however, so that result was misleading. Mostly, though, Germany was scoring goals. I was concerned about it giving up a 2-0 lead to England (even though the second goal wasn't counted), but having strikers who put shots on goal is very important at this stage. Opportunities are fewer, so you have to finish them.
Argentine star Lionel Messi made a record for the most shots on goal in a World Cup without recording a goal. Perhaps because of the history of Maradona in 1986, Argentina was waiting for an individual to have a transcendent goal, to run through four or five defenders and laser a picture perfect shot on goal. Germany seemed to spread it around more, and that brought up the classic question of whether you want to have a go to guy in the clutch or whether you want to have a "balanced" team. This appears to be a year, in sports, for the latter, with the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl and Duke winning the college basketball championship. (Neither of the two seniors from that team was drafted in the NBA.)
Miroslave Klose might not have his name bandied about with Kaka, David Villa, and Messi as the best in the world, but he's closing in on all time goals at the World Cup. Even so, I'm sure he'd give up the Golden Boot (for most goals scored) to get the team trophy.