This matchup is awesome. It is deserving of a final, a rematch of Euro 2008, a game between the most talented team and the hottest team, and has all the storylines you could wish for. I could not ask for much more out of this game at first glance, and I just hope it is as good on the pitch as it looks on paper. I also think that the winner of this game goes on to beat the Dutch in the finals. Call me a Dutch hater, I don’t care. For all their fantastic attacking, they do not defend like a champion.
I still find it hard to root for Germany. Call me a Neanderthal, but I just have a hard time rooting for them despite never living through a World War or anything other than a German democracy. However, there is no denying they are an outstanding football team. They have the speed to rip teams apart, the precision to pick them apart slowly and methodically, or the patience to sit back and play a closed game. They will not be more skilled than Spain, but they may even play better as a team than the already chemistry-laden Spanish. I can’t even really point out a serious hole in the German lineup because of how well they play with a team. They slaughtered the more talented English 4-1 when we did not know if they were too young to win. Then they beat Argentina 4-0 when we didn’t know if they were talented enough to outclass the star-studded Argentina squad. Now they face Spain, one of the favorites to win it all, full of flash, fluidity and fantastic team play. They have all the names, talent, and speed deserving of a World Cup Finals squad. Yet, Germany stands in their way with all the polish of a team with twice the experience they have and the chemistry of a team that has been playing together for years and years. They are a marvel.
Spain is a marvel in their own right. They personify the beautiful game with their passing, flowing attack and masterful skill. They have the prolific scorer in Villa, the puppet master in Xavi, the complete attacking mids in Fabregas and Iniesta, the marquee keeper in Casillas, and everything in between. If you need a role on the field that requires talent, Spain has it. What’s more is that many of the are just now entering their prime and I have not even mentioned Fernando Torres yet who has had a less-than-enchanting World Cup thus far. There is no questioning their talent level, and the only thing we could even try to question would be their defense which is packed with scrubs like Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevila (dripping with sarcasm). Perhaps Spain’s only flaw is that sometimes they take time to score their goals (like against Paraguay and Portugal). It is had to even call that a flaw. I originally thought that their lack of defensive toughness might cost them, but they have only given up one goal all tournament and that one just happened to cost them. It is hard to even find fault with Spain.
It is almost criminal that one of these teams has to lose. Spain has been nearly flawless since their opening match, and have been that way without Fernando Torres. Germany has been nothing by solid since their loss to Serbia, which coincidentally marks one of two goals conceded and only loss like Spain. I feel like it is a complete toss up, but that is not especially helpful for those of you here in search of a pick. I have seen too much soccer to pick against Germany. Like Al Davis, they “Just Win Baby”, and have been doing so forever. I think the speed of Ozil will mean trouble for Capdevila and Muller and Klose will do just enough to get the best of Puyol and Pique. Schweinsteiger needs to hold his own against the likes of Xavi, but I think he can. He has been nothing but phenomenal so far and I expect it to continue. Spain will not go down without a fight, but Germany just has too much momentum for Spain to stop. It will be an amazing game, and we are lucky to even get a matchup this good, however for the Spanish fans, only one team with an under-achieving history (Netherlands) will be making the finals this year.
I could absolutely see a Spanish win, but I have to make a pick, and picking against the Germans is perilous on the best of days. Germany to the finals.
Germany 3-2 Spain