|Germany vs. Argentina, war on fire|
, one of the hottest favorites will meet the hosts Germany
, the 1990 World Cup
finalists battling for a spot in the semifinals. This gigantic collision should be the most thrilling and hard-fought match so far in this World Cup.
With a big home court advantage, the hosts Germany have won all their first four matches very impressively while unbeaten Argentina looked especially remarkable in a 6-0 blow of Serbia and Montenegro.
History tells us that Germany have not beaten a top international team in almost six years as they last narrowly won England 1-0 in October 2000. They have lost 10 and drawn 6 of their meetings with the world-class opposition ever since, but at least they twice drew 2-2 against Argentina in the first half in 2005. As for Argentina, however, under the leadership of Diego Maradona 20 years ago, they triumph over West Germany in the final in Mexico City.
Argentina is a well-rounded team. They have world star Hernan Crespo in their offense, controlling midfield Juan Riquelme in their centre position and demanding fullback Juan Sorin in their defense. Then there's Germany. They have a powerful offense led by World Cup leading scorer Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, who scored a consecutive two goals against Sweden in the playoff. They also have team skipper Michael Ballack who is considered one of the best midfielders in the globe, and can play as a striker if necessary.
Argentina's midfield is not as strong as Germany's but, by the same token, their offense has the best style to thrust Germany's defense.
I'm not that arrogant this time to claim the victory before the game is played, but I'll have to say that the hosts have a "6-4" chance to win. Not because their team is better, but because they are currently riding on the momentum of success after thrashing Sweden 2-0 while Argentina has just experienced a tough match, both physically and mentally. The case against Germany is that they are too cocky for their own advantage. They haven't met a real power that is as tough and strong as Argentina. Meanwhile, Argentina has all the styles and skills that Germany lacks. Possibly their crisp defense will crumble under the strong pressure of the Argentina's offense.
With all the analysises above, I reckon that this cruel duel would go "6-4" in favor of the hosts.
By Zhenyu Li, sports writer for PD Online
The article represents the writer's views only