There is never a good place to go out in a World Cup but the worst place to go out is in the semi-finals, so close to the final but you come up just short, it is the stuff of nightmares. Sadly for two of the teams left in this year’s World Cup this is exactly the fate that awaits them.
If you want to know how close this World Cup is then you need look no further than the odds for the winner of the competition. Argentina, Germany, Brazil and Holland are 5/2, 13/5, 11/4 and 10/3 respectively. That is incredible, it just shows that this is anyone’s trophy to win and that makes for a very exciting final two rounds. As a side note it is incredible to think that this is the first time in the tournament that Brazil have not been the favourites to win the World Cup, is that they Neymar effect or the fact that people are realising that they aren’t very good? Almost certainly it is the first of the two
Brazil v Germany
This was my pre-tournament semi-final but after the group stages I didn’t think it would happen, not because of Germany but rather because Brazil have been so poor that I just didn’t see them making it this far. I think that Germany can be got at but I don’t think that Brazil have the players to do that, even worse for Brazil is that they aren’t good enough in the midfield (where they are lightweight and the German’s have big strength) or defensively (their Brazilians so naturally they can’t defend) to compete with Germany. Brazil are further not helped by the fact that they have lost their two best players in Thiago Silva and Neymar. It is likely that they will be replaced by Dante (who is from the David Luiz school of defending, as in can’t) and Willian (who gives a different dimension than Neymar but won’t beat anyone with trickery but rather pace), neither are bad players but both aren’t close to being in the same class as those they are replacing. Brazil have been incredibly unimpressive to date and unlike the Colombia game they won’t be able to target one German player and kick him off the park (because Germany aren’t a one man team) and surely the refereeing will be of a higher quality, with that in mind I can’t see anything other than a Germany win here; Brazil are a one man team which no longer has that one man, there is only so far that passion and a hot crowd can take you especially when you are playing a team which knows how to win like the Germans.
Holland v Argentina
Argentina haven’t been impressive so far in this World Cup and Holland after an impressive group stage display also haven’t been impressive in the knockout stages. In the end both teams have just done enough to squeeze through, but something has got to give now. Both teams have one of the tournaments outstanding players in their ranks; Messi (who I think has shown glimpses of brilliance throughout without truly being outstanding [the Nigeria game being the exception] and Robben who in my opinion has been the best player left in the competition (James Rodriguez being the best of the competition naturally). It is a titanic tie and one of these teams will be hitting an iceberg, but which one? I don’t honestly know, it could really go either way in my opinion. I edge towards Argentina because I have Germany in the final and history says a South American team will be there too, I predicted that as my pre-tournament final and Leo bloody Messi, but then I edge towards Holland because Van Gaal has put on a tactical master class, they have Robben and RVP and maybe this is finally their time. I don’t think either team can really defend, so I’d imagine there will be goals (although I’ve thought that before and been oh so wrong) and that leads me to the winner is the team with the best attack. So who has the best attack? Personally I think it’s Holland, especially with Di Maria out and although Aguero has been passed fit I doubt he is truly fit, it leaves Argentina with only Messi and a bunch of ordinary players (yes Higuain played well against Belgium but that is one good game out of five and Lavezzi has been poor) and I think RVP is due a good game and he will turn out to be the difference between the two teams. For all the world this should be a win for Argentina but the knockout stages still haven’t had a shock and I think Holland may have a date with destiny and their oldest rivals in their near future.
So what do you think of the upcoming World Cup semi-finals? Do you think it will turn out to be the all European tie like I do, breaking the hearts of millions of Brazilians? Or do you think it will be the Brazil v Argentina final that the organisers, sponsors and FIFA want desperately? Leave a comment and share those opinions of yours, it only takes a few seconds.