Argentina versus Germany is a royal football rivalry that has produced some of the most exciting matches in previous world cups. In the 1986 final in Mexico, Argentina defeated Germany 3-2 with a final goal by Jorge Burruchaga from a pass by Diego Maradona. In the 1990 final in Rome, Andreas Brehme scored the penalty that gave Germany their third world cup trophy, while Diego cried and launched a bitter conspiracy theory.
In the last 2006 world cup in Germany, Argentina were eliminated on penalty kicks after a 1-1 score at the end of extra-time. Diego has the opportunity to revenge that loss with his fearsome forward line of Lionel Messi, Tevez and Higuain. Argentina's midfield has the 40 million dollar lefty De Maria, Mascherano and Rodriquez, in front of defenders Otamendi, Demichelis, Samuel and Heinze. His impressive bench has Aguero and Milito ready to add to the forward line, and Burdisso who might start for "The wall" Samuel.
If Argentina has a weakness it's in defense and the not totally reliable goalkeeper Romero. Coach Loew will try to exploit this with his very capable strikers Klose, Podolski and the magician Ozil. On the right midfield he has another weapon in Muller, and safety in midfield leader Schweinsteiger and young star Khedira. The defense�showed weaknesses against England with Lahm, Mertesacker, Friedrich and Boateng, in truth, conceding twice.
Lionel Messi has played well, assisted Tevez, but has not scored. Young star Mezut Ozil has not only scored but helped others score as well. Muller who has just one season in the Bayern first team, has scored and run rampant on the right. Tevez has not only scored but he's looked unstoppable. Klose seems to come alive during the World Cup and he is already a German legend. Mascherano versus Schweinsteiger in is a heavy weight midfield match-up that will produce fireworks. In short this will be a fantastic football match that will probably be decided by a single act of pure football genius, probably by Messi or Ozil, Tevez or Klose.
After losing to Switzerland, Spain have been on cruise control led by the Barcelona midfield and striker David Villa, who is on fire. Xabi, Xavi Alonso, Busquets and Iniesta could play one touch football in their sleep and they dispatched Honduras, Chile and Portugal with ease. The European champions are like an express train heading towards their destination which is the final of the world cup. Paraguay should not prove a particular challenge to them as they play a game based on their defense. That means that Spain will have possession of the ball most of the time, so they will have ample opportunity to feed killer passes to Torres and especially Villa.
The Spanish defense of Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Pique and Capdevila should take care of any threats from Paraguay strikers Santa Cruz, Barrios or Oscar Cardozo, who have not really lived up to their potential so far. Sergio Ramos has been impressive on the right side, defending and attacking ferociously. Coach Martino will have to hope that his defense of Morel, Da Silva, Caceres and Bonet can hold Villa and Torres, while his midfielders Riveros, Caceres and Vera deal with the best midfield of the Spanish championship and this World Cup. I wish them good luck, because for sure it is not easy.
Paraguay has done very well to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in their history. Coach Martino is to be complimented for this impressive accomplishment. He has to hope that Paraguay can somehow hold on to the 0-0, and then win on penalty kicks as they did against Japan. Barring this, Spain should finally and deservedly be heading towards their first world cup semifinal since Brazil in 1950.