In the first two exciting quarter final matches, we saw the complete range of human characteristics. .Joy, tenacity, stupidity, intelligence, fear, bravery, cheating and tragedy were in evidence. The first half of the Brazil-Holland match was all joyful Brazil, dominating possession and looking like scoring more. But then the tenacious Dutch fought back to win but they were helped by some stupidity from Felippe Melo first heading the ball into his own net and then earning a red card with an unnecessary foul. The Dutch were very physical with Robben in action a lot during the second half. Brazil were drawn into a man’s match and they came out as boys. Holland’s strategy was not to allow the Brazilians to play and they shut down budding runs with brute force. I thought that the referee was a bit light on the dutch and let them get away with it. A pity because I felt Brazil were skillwise the better team.
The initial stages of the Ghana – Uruguay match was played with a fearful attitude. No side wished to do anything stupid. The game came to life when Ghana stepped it up towards the end of the second half and scored in injury time of the first half. Thereafter the game had a fluent flow to it and was extremely watchable. Forlan equalised with a great free kick. It was anybody’s game all through the 90 minutes and the extra 30 minutes. But it was Ghana’s for the taking in injury time after the 30 minutes. A brilliant move by Ghana saw Dominic Adiyiah heading the ball goalwards and seemingly into the semifinals. But Suarez on the Goal mouth pushed the ball, that was heading towards the centre of the goal, with his hands. He was Red Carded and a penalty was awarded but he had given the Uruguayan’s the slightest of chances. Amazingly the dependable Gyan, with the last kick of extra time slammed penalty kick on the bar and the ball went over the top denying the Black stars, their moment of glory.
Would you call Suarez’s handball cheating or bravery? I would say neither, instinctively in that position and time of the match, anybody would have done the same. It was not heroic and nor was it his intelligence but just a reflex action in the situation. As it transpired, however he has become a hero in Uruguay and a villain in Africa. Ghana lost to Uruguay in the penalty shoot out 4-2. So the striker Suarez will be remembered more for his save. A pity about the result again because Ghana were again the side with more flair.It was tragedy for Ghana.
My favourite side Argentina crashed out like the Indian cricket team on many occassions. Flattering only to deceive. Maradona was subdued right from the 3rd minute when Muller scored. But Argentine fraility was seen in the match against Mexico as well. I felt they were lucky to get away in that match. The Argentine defence was hopeless and Messi was strangled by the excellent marking of the Germans. Surprisingly Argentina had some good moments in the game but never threatened the goal. The exalted forwards failed to deliver in the crucial match. Germany were excellent on the day. The young German side tore apart Argentina’s spineless defense on the attacks. 4-0 did justice to their domination. Arne Friedrich got a goal but Schweinsteiger was outstanding and the driving force. Also Klose scored 2 goals and he now has 14 goals in World Cups. He could become the highest ever goal scorer in world cups alongside Ronaldo, if he scores another. They look in ominous form and will be hard to stop. As I mentioned before the tournament I did not expect this Argentine side to win but was hoping against hope that Messi would come to the party and do a Maradona. Well that didn’t happen and lets hope in the next world cup we see the best of him. Michael Ballack’s prediction of Germany steamrolling Argentina has come true and Maradona goes back home empty handed. Though it must be said that he provided enough entertainment with his antics in the first four matches.
Argentina were shown up in the first real challenge they faced and must go back to the drawing board for answers to their woeful backline. Well I hope Spain make it through and then we will have a cracking semifinal lineup
- Germany – Spain
- Holland – Uruguay
The Europeans have come back in force and it will probably be a European country that lifts the cup.