Germany have something extra
Looking at the two halves of the draw I feel that this half, with Germany facing Argentina, having defeated England, and then probably having to face a Spain side that defeated Portugal, is much harder, writes Lothar Matthaus.Updated: Jul 03, 2010 00:05 IST
Looking at the two halves of the draw I feel that this half, with Germany facing Argentina, having defeated England, and then probably having to face a Spain side that defeated Portugal, is much harder. The advantage of this harder draw is that the team develops best by facing and overcoming challenges, and for Germany, Argentina will be a big challenge.
Everyone knows about Messi, Tevez and Higuain, and the attacking prowess they give Argentina, but they are also a team with good players in the key central defensive and midfield areas. Where they have a weakness is in their tactical organisation.
Germany have always played efficient, disciplined football, but this team has something extra, and they have the opportunity to grow into the greatest team Germany has ever produced.
Ozil adds a creative dimension that opens opportunities for Klose and Podolski.
Argentina are sublime in attack, but they lack concentration and gift chances. They are also light defensively in midfield, and Germany will look to exploit this by cutting off the supply to the forwards and winning enough possession to put the Argentine defence under pressure.
Argentina have the best player in the world in Lionel Messi, man for man they have better players overall than Germany, and they will start as favourites.
Paraguay against Spain is another Europe versus South America clash and I anticipate another victory for Europe. Spain are the best team in Europe, and in Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Iniesta and Busquets they have the best midfield in the world. Behind these four is a solid defence, with Puyol and Pique strong in the middle, and full-backs Capdevila and Ramos outstanding. Up front they have David Villa and Fernando Torres.
Against Portugal they completely dominated the second-half and could have won by several goals. An impressive team, with no injury or suspension worries. Paraguay are not of the same quality. They struggled against Japan who were a little unfortunate not to win the game before the shootout. Against Spain, I see another defensive performance from Paraguay. If Spain achieve an early goal, the complexion of the game may change in that Paraguay will then have to attack. However, nothing will change the eventual outcome. Spain will win.