Green Point Stadium was the scene of a gigantic massacre on Saturday. Maradona and his boys finally hit an immovable wall, and the rampaging Germans delivered them a footballing lesson that they will not forget for a long time. The match ended Germany 4, Argentina 0.
Ghana’s Kevin Prince Boateng may have changed the history of football when he injured German captain Michael Ballack in the FA Cup finals on 17 May. Ballack’s World Cup was over, but with it the new German team was born. Instead of basing their play on the old, ill-tempered and sometimes downright nasty character that Ballack is, the Germans gave their young players a license to play the best football they could. And what football did they play at this World Cup! This reporter was never a fan of German soccer, but he also never saw a team as united and unified around the same goal as the 2010 version of the German national team. If there ever was truth in “All for one, one for all”, German youngsters have made it a reality. These 11 musketeers play in South Africa as though they all belong to a single organism with 11 pairs of legs. The Germans play a fair and honest game, chasing the ball and not trying to injure the other side. Hats off to them.
Their opponents on Saturday were the much fancied Argentines and their lightly-insane coach, Diego Maradona. And what a lesson the German youngsters handed to the Gauchos! From the third minute, when Muller scored the first goal of the game, there was a palpable feeling of Germany conducting an exhibition match in their version of total football, with the Argentines being hapless members of the audience picked up to be humiliated for the entertainment of everyone else. Apart from rare flashes of brilliance, Messi and Tevez were invisible, Argentina’s midfield was outplayed and the defence was completely bewildered.
Photo: Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona hugs Lionel Messi after Germany won their 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town July 3, 2010. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
The defeat the Germans inflicted on the Argentines on Saturday is as emphatic as possible. The Germans now advance to the semi-finals and will play without their top scorer, Thomas Mueller, who picked up a second yellow card. They will play the winner of the Spain-Paraguay match, and it could be one of those games that will be remembered for a long time. They are that good.
Here are the reporter’s notes:
Argentina: Sergio Romero, Nicolás Ottamendi, Martín Demichelis, Nicolás Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze, Maxi Rodríguez, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi , Ángel Di María, Carlos Tévez, Gonzalo Higuaín
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Arne Friedrich, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Mueller, Sami Khedira, Mesut Oezil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose
Man of the match
- 3rd minute: Germany score! Thomas Mueller runs in front of all the defenders, and flicks Schweinsteiger’s cross from the free kick. Romero was caught completely on the wrong foot.
Photo: Germany’s Thomas Mueller (R) heads to score against Argentina during their 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town July 3, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
- 5th minute: The Argentines appear to be punch-drunk, as the Germans are left to rule the pitch. Schweinsteiger’s free shot went skywards.
- 8th minute: Germany goes through the Argentine defence like a knife through butter.
- 9th minute That Argentines have their first meaningful attack in the ninth minute, shows how much the Germans are dominating!
- 11th minute: Otamendi gets the first yellow card of the match for fouling Arne Friedrich. A telling sign of the Argentines’ bewilderment.
- 13th minute: Argentina’s defence is not doing well.
- 15th minute: Higuain’s run on the left-hand side splits the German defence for the first time today, but his low cross is easily dealt with by Khedira.
- 22nd minute: Messi’s razor-sharp pass is intercepted by Neuer, but in the very last split of the second.
- 24th minute: The Argentines make a dreadful mistake and hand the ball straight to Mueller’s feet, who then passes a sitter to Klose, whose shot flies above the crossbar. The Germans look eminently dangerous today.
- 28th minute: Messi makes a great weave through several defenders, but his cross from acute angle goes behind the goal.
- 31st minute: Messi’s free kick flies very high. He is yet to score
- 33rd minute: Di Maria’s shot from the counter-attack is weak and easily scooped by Neuer.
- 35th minute: Mueller gets a yellow card and misses the next match.
- 36th minute: The Argentineans score a goal, but it is disallowed for offside.
- 39th minute: Podolski’s shot flies just wide of Romero’s goal.
- 42nd minute: Oezil’s shot is just wide, but not by much.
- 44th Mueller’s 12 metre shot is deflected just before it is about to hit the net.
- 45th minute: Schweinsteiger’s free shot from 18 metres goes high and wide.
- 46th minute: Messi skies his shot, after creating a lovely free space.
- 48th minute: Di Maria’s menacing shot flashes past Neuer’s far post by a whisker.
- 54th minute: Tevez’s rocket knocks Per Mertesacker, but in a typical German fashion, he bounces back to his feet.
- 58th minute: The Germans are showing signs of their counter-attacking prowess. As the Argentines push more and more forward, expect Germans to repeat their actions against England.
- 62nd minute: Tevez’s long-range shot is easily scooped by Neuer.
- 63rd minute: Higuian’s shot from an acute angle is accurate but goes straight into Neuer’s scooping hands.
- 64th minute: Lahm clears the ball right out of Higuain’s feet from what would have been a certain goal. The Argentines are pushing hard, urged by Maradona.
- 67th minute: Germany score again!!! After a laser-sharp counter-attack, and in the easiest of fashions, Miroslav Klose taps Podolski’s most accurate pass into an undefended net to score in his 100th game for Germany. The Argentines are knocked out and will have to pull off a miracle to reverse the defeat they are staring at now.
Photo: Combination photo shows Germany’s Miroslav Klose celebrating his second goal during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Argentina at Green Point stadium in Cape Town July 3, 2010. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
- 70th minute: Pastori’s cross splits Germany’s defence and it flies through dangerously without being attacked by anyone.
Strain is now visible on Argentine faces.
- 74th minute: Germany score! Schweinsteiger masterfully waltzes though the left-hand side of the Argentine defence to set up the easiest of taps for Friedrich, who is overjoyed at finding the net. His feelings are the polar opposite of what Maradona and his players feel right now.
Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel celebrates Germany’s fourth goal during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Argentina at Green Point stadium in Cape Town July 3, 2010. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
- 78th minute: The Germans again power through the Argentine defence, which is demoralised and slow. Klose’s dangerous low cross is intercepted at the last moment.
- 80th minute: Podolski’s shot is strong, far and wide.
- 81st minute: Kroos’s shot from 25 metres is very strong, but straight into Romero.
- 87th minute: Messi’s shot goes straight into Neuer.
- 89th minute: Klose scores again!!! Germany’s counter-attack is from the book, with Oezil’s brilliant cross creating a sitter that Klose simply couldn’t miss. The Argentineans are humiliated.
- 91st minute: Messi creates some space for the shot, but again, it is not threatening.
End of the match, and Germany are through to the semi finals.
By Branko Brkic
Photo: Germany’s Mesut Ozil (L) and Lukas Podolski celebrate after the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match between Argentina and Germany at Green Point stadium in Cape Town July 3, 2010. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach