The semi-finals are the cruellest stage of the tournament, the winners go on and play in the glory of the World Cup final for the chance to become the World Champions and the losers go into a game nobody wants to play and have the knowledge that they came up just one step too short. That’s the thing, even if you lose in the final it is better than losing in the semis because at least you gave yourself the chance of playing in the biggest football match in football.
Oh dear god was this an embarrassment of all embarrassments. It’s weird but it would have been better for Brazil to actually go out in the last 16 in a close game with Chile than to go out in the semis to Germany after a humiliating 7-1 defeat which quite frankly flattered Brazil. Germany were excellent, they destroyed Brazil in the first half and pretty much stopped trying after 5-0 and still managed to win the rest of the game 2-1. Germany’s defending was top notch, Neuer was once again excellent in nets, they dominated the tempo of the game with their midfield and the German forwards were incredibly clinical in attack; it was the perfect performance. What makes it all the better for Germany is that they won’t have had any mental or physical exertions because it was such a one sided game, and even better than that they played the day before the other semi so should be very well rested; all in all this was the semi-final that dreams are made of, and it seems that the Germans even do dreams better than everyone else…
Brazil were pathetic, they should have gone out in the last 16 and the quarters but both times they squeezed through on luck, bad officiating and set pieces. If Brazil had went on and won this World Cup then they would have arguably been the worst team to ever do so, they played like Uruguayans (dirty and without shame) and that as a Brazilian fan, a boy who watched the Brazil team of Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho lift the trophy in 2002 with glee, is incredibly sad. It’s a double standard of course because if another team had made it to the final playing in the style of this Brazil I may sit here and complement them on their tactical nuances, but Brazil are above that, Brazil is supposed to be football, you expect more and whether they win, lose or draw they must deliver it. It really is back to the drawing board for Brazil because beyond Neymar (who played well in two games and is highly over rated at the current moment) and Silva (who won’t get blamed for it but his stupidity in the Colombia game was at fault for the poor performance because there was nobody left to marshal the crazy attacking ways of his fellow defenders) they don’t have anything there. Scolari took the wrong squad, leaving out players like Filipe Luis, Miranda, Rafinha, Dede and Lucas Moura and taking players like Fred and Jo who everyone knew were not good enough. It’s back to the drawing board for Brazil now and I can’t see them doing anything at the next World Cup because it will take them a long period to get over the shock of this elimination, it is one that could destroy this fairly young generation and set Brazil back many many years.
It is always tough following up an eight goal thriller but this game did nothing to help that. Quite somehow managed to make it to the final without actually playing well throughout the competition. Mascherano was a beast in the Holland match and has been Argentina’s best player throughout, which says a lot about Argentina when you consider the players they have in their team. Everyone keeps banging on about how great Messi’s been but has he really? The answer is no, he scored two good goals in the groups against Iran and Bosnia but did nothing else in the match, he played really well against Nigeria but it was essentially an exhibition and since the groups he has been blatantly missing in each of Argentina’s games. So why are people talking about him as one of the tournaments best players? Well in this world we live in Messi is the default winner of everything because people can’t see past his poor performances because occasionally he will do something special. I’m not saying he is a bad player (he is not obviously) but he gets hyped so much it’s ridiculous. Messi has been average in this World Cup, if he wins the Golden Ball it will be a total disgrace. Here’s a stat that tells you exactly how well Argentina have played; they have scored one goal in normal time in the knockout stages…one…
Holland will be disappointed that they haven’t made it to the final because Argentina were there for the taking. Not many people had Holland making the semis but they got a clear path and took advantage of it. Sadly Holland’s tournament never really hit the heights of their 5-1 victory over Spain again and they much like Argentina were poor in the knockouts. You have to wonder why Van Gaal used his sub on Huntelaar rather than keeping it for the goalkeeper again. It had worked so well in the last game as Krul saved 2/5 penalties and guessed the right way 5/5, on the other hand Cillessen was pitiful in nets. It is really hard to criticise a keeper in a shootout but Cillessen should definitely have saved the 4th Argentinian penalty and probably should have got the 3rd one as well. It’s so easy to look back at this and wonder why he didn’t do it but after he had set the precedent in the last game it does seem odd that he didn’t do the same thing in this one; even if RVP was a bit of a passenger (Huntelaar didn’t come on and do anything anyway). Holland will walk away from this World Cup with their heads held high because they have far over reached their expectations, they will look at the young squad they had as well and think that the future looks bright but this World Cup was here for the taking and they dropped the ball.
So there’s your final; Germany v Argentina, which just happens to be the final I predicted at the start of the tournament…so yay me! Germany are performing like I thought they would but so far Argentina have been rather lacklustre. I expected Argentina to be this attacking juggernaut which banged in the goals but had a tendency to leave the backdoor open, turns out they’re the complete opposite…go figure…What did you think of the semi-finals of this World Cup? Leave your comment and share your thoughts!