Originally posted here on my ancient blog site.
Germany Vs Argentina:1-1 AET,4-2 PSO
Although my predictions of a German victory came true.The match was heartbreaking for any fan of football other than a German(I had predicted 2-1,but both played double my expectations;)).Germany should have won,thats fine.But Argentina Shouldn’t have lost.No doubt this should have been the final match.Argentina began in a fine fashion and had more of the ball in the beginning.But that never meant Germany were sleeping.The ball possession by Argentina was high,but it was in their own half.Neither sides created good chances for a long time.Defense was excellent on both sides.That left all the attacking chances to some free kicks,Corners or Long distance shots.Ballack had good oppurtunities but couldnt convert them.One header was not directed properly,and then a corner kick that caused quite a lot of panic in the Argentinian defense.But still they stood firm.German goalkeeper dint have much of a job to do in the first half.I think the ball had a tougher time than in any other match so far.Both teams struggled everymoment.Both teams had a nice way of stopping the attacks,screw up the supply,Requelme and Ballack were the most marked men unlike strikers in usual cases.
The second half was an even more exciting affair. Within minute from the kick-off Roberto Ayala sent the ball in to the nets from a Requelmecorner kick.I dont think the goalkeeper had any chance.Infact it wasAyala’s first for Argentina.The match grew hotter.Germany always seemed to be on the way to recovery from then on.But a Rodrigueztackle and shot had nearly managed to finish the game in favour ofArgentina.It hit the side nets and half the stadium roared thinking that it went inside.Amidst all the action,Klose Managed to injure the goalkeeper of Argentina(not deliberate though).so Abbondanzairi abandons;) and Franco comes in for him.Argentina missed Requelme too as he was injured and Cambiasso took his place.In the 81st minute,Ballack chipped the ball on to Podolsky’s head who in turn Flicked it towards Klose and Yo!!! Klose does it again.A header,I was really missing them since Euro 2004.His head seems better than his legs all the time.So Klose kicked the goalkeeper first and then a goal.The next 10 minutes dint yield,neither did the extra 30 minutes.Ballack was battling with his injury so as to stay alive for penalties.Finally Penalty shoot out was declared.Neither side had ever lost a penalty shoot out in World Cup history.One had tonow.The first 2 went smoothly,both sides scored.But Argentina missed the next two(Ayala and Cambiasso).while Germany scored both(Ballackand Podolski).So it was Boroswki’s turn now to finish it for Germany.Andhe finished well.
In conclusion it was heartbreaking exit for Argentina.I think the difference was that,while Germany took all the necessary risks,Argentina did not.Why the hell did Pekerman not get Messi on to the field?
Italy Vs Ukraine:3-0 It was a whitewash for Ukraine.Shevchenko alone cannot workwonders.Italy continued its Unbeaten run(23 now),they were all over Ukraine throughout the match.Bufon did not face any tense moments throughout the first half.In the second half had a scare or two.Italy saw the resurgence of Luca Toni.Scored 2 of the 3.But the best goal was ofcourse that by Zambrotta.A great run down the midfiled and then a seemingly impossible goal with amazing accuracy.The Goalkeeper did have a touch of his fingers on it,but that was not enough.After the first goal the match seemed to have got boring,I was wondering if I could stay awake till the end.Infact at half time i dozed off and missed 34 seconds of the second half.But the second half proved worth the wait.Yellow finally started to dominate.But kudos to Italian defense.They have not conceded any goal till date to their opponents in these finals(The only one they conceded was off the boots of Zaccardo their own boy).And in quick attacks they dispelled all doubts by scoring 2 more. But can they pull off another Italian Job against Germany?Lets see.
Portugal Vs England :0-0 AET,3-1 PSO My predictions for this took a complete turn around.What the hell was that??.Portugal were missing on a few players(including Deco).And yet England managed to play such hapless football.The first problem in their side was the 4-1-4-1 formation.A strong team full of stars(thier midfield star line up beats Brazil too) needs to play in a more attacking formation.Sven Goran Ericksson doesnt agree to this though.He thinks its the same formation that helped England win against Ecuador.I pityhim.If anything won the game for England,it was Beckham’s free kick and the English defense.
And to top it all the 1 in 4-1-4-1,Rooney managed to get a red card shoving his own team-mate in Man U-Ronaldo.Had the whole country prayed for his leg to see this?Very irresponsible behaviour from such a player.Vain Ruiny.He proved to be their Nemesis.The match then on was about the portugese attack and the English defense.England did try somesubstituttions.They dint work too.Beckham also missed out most of the action beacause of an Injury.Another waste fellow in the team isCrouch.The giant’s height nearly ensures him a touch in every free kick,but the conversion rate is pathetic.After 120 tiring minute for English defense and Robinson in particular,The match went on for penalty shoot outs.England continued their pathetic history of losing penalty shoot-outs.All the big names,Steven Gerrard,Frank Lampard(has had 24 shots on goal but scoresheet says zilch) missed.I had bet that Gerrard would score even if the ball were to be 10 more yards away!!.Ricardo did a fine job.3 saves proved he is one of the alltime greats at net.And finally Cristiano Ronaldo took the decider for Portugal and sealed their berth in Semis.So the English finally bowedout.And Scolari is one step closer to another final.
France Vs Brazil:1-0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never had I thought that the french would get a victory review.I had thought of an article on Zidane’s farewell.The so called Zizou never ceases to surprise.I have to delay my article by atleast another match.Orwho knows?if he will French kiss the golden trophy again.The whole thing seems to be too much of a deja vu.1998 finals seemed to be coming liveagain.All the same names,Henry,Zidane,Thuram,Carlos,Ronaldo…. Zidane was seemed like he was in his early 20s.what energy!!!He showed even the Brazilians a trick or two(the stuff that we usually seeRonaldinho doing)and whats more,they were not tricks for the sake of it,they were a part of some brilliant passes.Brazil never seemed to have got the better of France.There were no shots on goal for Brazil for upto 70 minutes of the game.That is easily one of the most pathetic performances by a Brazilian team ever.France had a few nearmisses.Near the end of first half,Viera seemed to be well on the way to a goal,but was brought down.But finally in the 57th minute,Thiery Henrydeflected a free kick from Zidane past Dida and yo!! France lead(In the replay we could spot Roberto Carlos resting his arms on his thighs!! he was supposed to be marking Henry,Henry had no marking at all when he got his leg on the ball).With still more than half an hour to go,things were definitely not going to be easy for France.Despite that,they were the ones who still seemed to be creating more chances.Brazilians never found their form.Robinho came in,Kaka was taken off,but nothing seemed to work.Atlast Referee blew the 90 minute whistle.I think if I were in a spacecraft I would have seen some place west of Germany suddenly erupting in brilliant colors.French continued thier brilliant record against Brazil in World Cup Finals.(they lost to them the last time in Pele’s times-1958).And Brazil go home!!.
Predictions for Semis…
Germany vs Italy–Germany will have a tough time beating the Italiandefense.But i think they should win.May drag on to extra time.
France Vs Portugal– Portugal will win,but I dare not say comfortably.France seem to be breaking all barriers.