Saturday, 3 July 2010

Preview 2nd set of 1/4 finals

Today see's the 2nd round of 1/4 finals and one of the most annticipated games in the World Cup so far, so it makes sense to start there

Germany v Argentina

This is a highly anticipated match, with germany holding a world cup advantage having beaten Argentina in the 1990 final 1-0 as well as knocking them out on penalites in the 2006 world cup, Argentina's sole victory coming in the 1986 final when they won 3-2 and i'm sure Maradona, who stared in that world cup, will call on this as inspiration to the current team.

After an impressive display against England the Germans will be ready for this game, both teams are realtivly young but both have bags of energy and attacking potential and both teams weakness's will be their defence so i expect a high scoring game. The key battles will be Ozil v Mascherano & Messi v Schweinsteiger/Khedira and i think the advantage here could be with Argentina as Mascherano is a natural defensive midfielder with excellent tackling and work rate as well as being a solid man marker - neither Schweinsteiger or Khedira are natural defensive midfielders and Messi may well find it easier to float between both of them and exploit the space they create as Germany go forward. Tevez will also play an important part with his work rate and energy causing the Germans all sorts of problems, meaning Podolski & Muller will have to spend a lot of time tracking backing to cover which could also provide a problem as neither are overly defensive - Podolski especially will have to help support Lahm who loves to get forward but could get caught out by both Tevez or Di Maria. The main problem for Argentina will be the speed of Podolski & Muller against a static Argentinian defence - in the friendly earlier this year though the Argentinians managed to restrict the Germans to 1 shot on target from long range which Maradona was delighted with, however i don't expect the same to happen this time. Both sides have injury worries, Messi was sent home on Thursday with 'cold like symptons' whilst the Germans attacking threat of Ozil & Podolski both missed trainning Thursday & Friday.

I expect Argentina to get through but it could be a very close game, i'm going for 3-2 to Argentina, but this game will be thrilling to watch

Spain v Paraguay

The Paraguayan captain & goalkeeper, Justo Villar, has said in press conferences that the Paraguayans will have to press Spain all over the pitch to make sure they don't get time on the ball and this is a very accurate description because if Spain are given time they will be able to tear Paraguay appart. Obviously Spains defeat to the Swiss early on was built around a defensivly minded Swiss team however i don't think Paraguay will play as defensivly for the reason Villar said because if you sit back against Spain they will pass you to death, although they did play a very defesnive game against Japan in the last round. This could its self present Paraguay with problems because they played 120 grulling tiring minutes against the Japanese. A key for Spain will be the impact of both Fernando's, Torres & Llorente because in the game against Portugal Torres didn't perform well and the more physical Llorente provided a different outlet for Spain that really helped them, if Torres isn't having an impact in the first hour then Llorente may well come on again to bring a different type of attack. Spains lack of width could be a problem, especially as Ramos's delivery was so poor in the last game, Paraguay on the other hand have Benitez as an out and out winger who could test Ramos when he goes on his forward runs from right back leaving a hole at the back to be exploited.

The key for Spain will be David Villa who is in the form of his life at the moment and has one eye on the golden boot, if the Paraguayans can keep him quiet then they might have a chance. The Paraguayans main threat will probably come from Santa Cruz or Barrios who's physical pressence will be key in trying to expolit a hole in the Spanish defence. I would expect Spain to cruise through this game comfertably, i'm going with a 2-0 to Spain

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