So now we’re entering World Cup Quarter Final stage. Eight teams will play each other in order to prove who will be the Top Four in the world this year. From these eight teams only one is from Africa: Ghana. The rests are three from Europe: Germany, Holland, Spain, and four from Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Asians failed to have their representatives in Quarter Final after Japan lost to Paraguay yesterday in a penalty shoot-out.
Surprises and disappointments dominated this World Cup. Host of this World Cup – South Africa, couldn’t match quality of the other 16 contestants, but still managed to snatch a win over the most disappointing France. The disharmonious France went home early without winning any match and could only score one goal for all the costs the nation paid to have them participating. Fortunately it was not a hand ball goal. The other big team that failed to deliver was the World Cup 2006 Champion, Italy. Slightly better than France with 3 more goals and 1 more point, Italy also couldn’t win a match and went home early with embarrassment. Having Lippi who brought them the trophy four years ago didn’t help much this time. So biggest disappointment were shared between both previous finalists.
The other disappointment (due to over hyping) is England (again) failed to deliver. The so called golden generation squad was humiliated in the second round, losing 4-1 to Germany. Those experienced Premier League stars couldn’t cope with the speed of the youngest Germany squad since 1930s. Their play was full of freshness, verve and mutual understanding – all the things their opponents, despite their greater experience, have been lacking for years. Müller – who scored two goals in that match, will not be 21 until September. And four of Germany players that started – Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Mesut Oezil repeated their domination over England with an astounding 4-0 victory in last year European under-21 championships. Richard Williams from Guardian summed up well the ending of England’s golden generation here.
What’s wrong with England will need another comprehensive analytic article. For this moment let’s rejoice with the winners. Germany, Argentina, Holland and Brazil will face each other in mouthwatering quarter final. Uruguay – one of the surprises of the tournament, will face Ghana, who will have full support from the whole African nations while Spain will test Paraguay defense which only leaked one goal so far.
My heart is for Holland to win this World Cup, but as match by match passed I grow my fondness for the Germans. Their football reminds me of Arsenal in their best years. They play fast-paced, attacking style of football which still keeps the ball on the ground. Their counter attacks were decisive and the strikers were prolific. To score 4 goals against England – however over hyped they are, is no small feat. If they can beat Argentina in the next match, Germany will certainly be the most favorite contender.
Prior to the England – Germany match Jurgen Klinsmann gave an interview:
“Our philosophy was always to play a fast-paced, attacking style of football. That is what we introduced to the German national team,” Klinsmann said. “We developed a team to start passing from the back, hitting balls to the strikers but keeping the ball on the ground. It is a process that has taken Germany six years to learn to play but England was playing that way six years ago.”
“Joachim and myself often went over to Premier League games and we tried to implement a style that really creates more speed and creativity. As a result, there is now a generation of German players coming through that has become used to that system and they are comfortable with it. The players have now grown into it and Joachim is continuing that by telling the players that they have to be proactive and highly energetic going forward, with one or two touches if possible. But we still want to create space for creative players like Mesut Oezil.”
Hopefully England FA can learn a trick or two from what Klinsmann said. Or they can always ask Wenger, anytime.