Finishing the Quarters

Another crazy day. The Germany-Argentina match, which I expected to be pretty wild, was actually quite tame. The Germans just put on a clinic, absolutely dismantling the Argentines. Klose got two goals, though he was far from being the most important player. Mueller and Oezil were again beasts. And Schweinsteiger, who I've been generally unimpressed with, even had a beautiful play to set up Friedrich for the third goal (he also assisted on Mueller's goal, though I can't say as he did anything special for that one).

Give credit to the Germans for playing fabulous defense, but Argentina just did not look like the same team that was romping through the tournament up to this point. They didn't appear to be enjoying playing (of course, giving up a goal three minutes in wouldn't help that), and had very few good passing sequences. Messi was his usual brilliant self, except that he didn't have his shot today (kind of like Podolsky in the Serbia game); I don't think he managed a shot on goal among the many he tried. He also didn't really have any help; nobody else had even a decent game for the Albiceleste.

Paraguay and Spain, on the other hand, was of a piece with yesterday's games. Two penalty kicks (one for each side) within a couple of minutes of each other. After one got called back for offsides, both were saved.

And Spain finally scored in the 80th or so minute when Paraguay was just too tired to maintain the pressure they'd applied up to that point. And even then it took a ball caroming off a post right to David Villa and him just barely putting it in (hitting one post and bouncing off to hit the inside of the other post.

While I expected Spain to win, I was still quite disappointed. Paraguay gave it their all, and really took Spain off its stride. They almost managed the upset, not being helped by a goal being disallowed on a very questionable offsides call.

Spain only got into their game after the goal was finally scored. They couldn't manage another goal, but their passes started connecting consistently. At that point, they looked very, very good. Their game against Germany will be very interesting, and Germany will definitely miss Mueller.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that the Dutch are really screwed going forward. Right now, they're going to be missing two starters against Uruguay, and have eight players carrying yellow cards forward. Especially given how physical a team they are, if they do get by Uruguay (and I think they will, especially with Uruguay missing Suarez and Fucile), they're likely to be missing multiple players in the final.

Germany will also need to be careful, they're carrying six now. Uruguay and Spain, on the other hand, are generally ok, carrying only seven between the two.

It used to be (and I'm not sure when it changed) that yellow cards reset after the group stage. I wish they'd go back to that; the carryover makes it really hard to maintain tough defense over so many games.

Anyway, I had Netherlands and Argentina winning the next round, originally. Argentina being out, I'm going to go with Germany winning their game. Spain's definitely got the talent (heck, they've got the talent to win by a bunch), but they haven't been playing up to their talent so far. I imagine that Germany will look at the pressure that Paraguay applied, and see how well it worked, and try to do the same.

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