World Cup Blog: Calm after the storm
07:00 11 July 2014
Semi-finals were a complete contrast
Talk about the calm after the storm!
The second semi-final did not live up to expectations, but Argentina scraped through after a dramatic shoot-out.
Javier Mascherano shone in the Arena de Sau Paulo in a defensive master class, as star performers Lionel Messi and Holland’s Arjen Robben both had fairly quiet games.
Both sides limited their touches in a defensive strategy. Both sat back and were hard to break down, with AC Milan’s Nigel De Jong fit enough to contain Messi, the opposite of Brazil’s Luis Gustavo who was overrun by the German force of Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
But as a spectator, the game was a massive disappointment after that superb German dismantling of the Brazilians in Tuesday’s tie.
The World Cup has certainly lived up to its reputation, though, after some fantastic goals, performances and celebrations.
But are these global stars performing? Messi has proved his doubters wrong after single handedly firing Argentina into the final, but it’s now time for others to step up, such as Ezequiel Lavezzi and Sergio Aguero.
The Germans seem to be unbeatable after demolishing Brazil, but showed signs of weakness throughout the group games against smaller nations such as Ghana were they battled to a 2-2 draw.
The in-form Thomas Muller looks to take the Golden Boot for the second successive competition, but a defensive strategy seems to be in place for the final, with Rio the stage for the mouthwatering clash.
But who will take the crown?
Will Argentina, the underdogs, turn up and give Germany a real run for their money?
Or will Coach Alejandro Javier Sabella inflict a defensive game plan, hoping to hit the Germans on the counter?
Will Messi stamp his name in the record books and become a footballing legend by lifting the World Cup?
Or will the well-organised machines of Germany take the crown.
The tournament as a whole has showcased many astonishing talents, such as James Rodriguez who helped his Colombia team reach the quarter-finals with six goals and two assists.
The Colombians may be ones to watch out for in Russia 2018.
There has also been many memorable moments such as when Miroslav Klose of Germany, become the all time top scorer after surpassing Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s record of 15 goals.
Brazil’s hospitality and spirit will be one to remember, but after their horrifying defeat, it has put a grey cloud over the tournament for the home fans.
Another poor display from England left us out before the knockout stage, which destroys all hopes of any fan believing that we can win the World Cup for a second time.
Young guns Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley will be ones to watch for the future, with Sterling linked with a possible move to Real Madrid after impressing at this World Cup, but in my eyes it’s the end of an era with many legends such as Andrea Pirlo set to be retiring from the international game.
With only two more games remaining, World cup fever is coming to an end.
But with not long remaining until the start of the new Premier League season, hopefully the new campaign will throw up as many surprises as the past four weeks!