Lionel Messi didn’t show up, again, for a big Argentina match, as Germany did to Maradona what they did to England a few days earlier, crushing the Albiceleste 4-0, never allowing Argentina any real threat on Neuer’s goal, with every piece of Low’s puzzle working perfectly, orchestrated by the fantastic Bastian Schweinsteiger, eliminating the second South American juggernaut side from the World Cup, ending the talks about Latin domination in South Africa.
Argentina were the team that kicked off, but the Germans were pretty much the only team that showed up in the first few minutes, and Thomas Muller scored off of Schweinsteiger’s free kick which was poorly defended by Maradona’s men, scoring his fourth goal of the tournament.
Thomas Muller, 1-0
Argentina’s midfield, throughout the tournament, has been pretty much defense only. Any build up plays and creativity bursts only happen when Tevez and/or Messi drop to take the ball and start something. After 13 minutes, it was obvious that Germany have a huge advantage in that department, with Ozil, Muller, Schweinsteiger and Khedira dominating the match rather easily.
Muller, the best man on the pitch, found a wide open Klose in the 23 minute, who sent the ball flying over Romero’s goal in the 23rd minute with a very uncharacteristic miss.
Well, if the midfield doesn’t work, Argentina resorted to a more individual approach, which created a few chances, with Di Maria and Higuain testing Neuer 30 minutes from the beginning of the match, with the German goalkeeper easily handling the situations.
Messi wasn’t exactly lighting the pitch on fire, but Argentina were becoming more and more dominant as the first half winded down, while the Germans hung back, hoping to catch Argentina unprepared with those counter attacks that worked so well against England.
Maradona’s best move during the half was moving Angel Di Maria to the right, faced up against Boateng and not against Lahm, who’s looking like the best full back in the World in this World Cup. Di Maria was able to create some chances and free up Messi to roam in the middle, but without creating any major threats on the German goal (yet).
Argentina came out strong after the half time break, with Angel Di Maria almost scoring a spectacular goal, missing Neuer’s goal by a few inches in the 48th minute after a powerful shot from 25 meters.
10 Minutes into the second half, Argentina look more and more dangerous as both Tevez and Higuain were able to create chances for themselves inside the penalty box. Germany are relying too much on their D and ability to play the counter attack.
A hectic pace to the game – Messi broke through for the first time in the 62 minute, finding Higuain in the box, but a soft shot didn’t give Neuer too much trouble. The German defenders aren’t letting anyone, especially Messi, get any easy attempts at goal.
67th minute – Miroslav Klose scored his third goal of the tournament and his 13th World Cup Finals goal, tapping in Podolski’s assist after Podolski carved the Argentinian defense.
Mirsolav Klose, 2-0
74th minute – Arne Friedrich scored his first goal ever for the German national team after a brilliant dribble by Schweinsteiger, the best player on the pitch, carving through a helpless Argentina defense and setting up Friedrich with another easy goal and a 3-0, untouchable, lead.
Arne Friedrich, 3-0
The problem is with this German side is they smell blood and pounce on every opportunity. 12 Minutes away from a third consecutive Semi Final appearance, Low’s side doesn’t seem satisfied with “only” a 3 goal margin.
Klose satisfied that appetite, scoring his second of the day, giving Merkel another reason to applaud this wonderful German side, after Ozil found him wide open to beat Romero again. Klose now needs only one goal to tie Ronaldo’s World Cup record of 15 goals.