Belfast Telegraph

Steven Beacom: Awesome Germans are team to stop now

It was stunning. Absolutely stunning. One of the most remarkable matches in World Cup history. Even now a couple of days on, the nature of Germany’s 4-0 triumph over Argentina is the talk of South Africa.

Germany didn’t just beat Argentina, they gave them a footballing lesson.

Remember they weren’t playing an England side lacking ideas, passion and desire.

This was an Argentina side who were playing in an attacking, attractive and ambitious manner.

This was an Argentina side with momentum and a strong inner belief that they were destined for glory.

And of course this was an Argentina side managed by a man who once took World Cup football to a different level and included a man with the ability to do exactly the same.

Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi have brought much to this tournament but throughout Saturday’s sensational show from the Germans they were left to watch, admire and learn.

It was a master class. The perfect team performance.

One of the major talking points of this World Cup has related to how many great individuals have failed to shine.

There’s quite a list with Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Franck Ribery and Fernando Torres, amongst others, all on it.

Not one German name, however, is included.

They have players of immense individual talent, if not as high profile as those mentioned above, but what has set them apart in South Africa is that they have displayed their tremendous ability within a wonderful team strategy.

And boy does it work. Just ask the heartbroken Maradona.

For a team that created chances at will in their opening four games, amazingly Argentina had no clear cut opportunities against Germany, whose defensive organisation was both immaculate and admirable.

Coach Joachim Low may dress like he is in a boy band from the 80s, but his management has a modern day magic formula.

His plan was to start strong and score early, which the brilliant Thomas Mueller did, and then frustrate Argentina’s front three of Messi, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuaín by denying them space in dangerous areas.

Then, get this, the idea was to kill them off on the counter attack, which happened in the second half thanks to a brace from the clinical Miroslav Klose and Arne Friedrich’s first international goal.

Talk about a plan coming together. When he is finished in South Africa, super cool Low should be the leader of a reformed A Team.

Mind you, his Germany side have become the A Team in this World Cup. Awesome.

In the knockout stages Germany have walloped England and whipped Argentina.

The question now is can they beat Spain in the semi-finals?

On current form it should be a doddle because while Germany are playing brilliantly, the Spanish have muddled through to this stage, and were pretty fortunate to defeat Paraguay in the last eight.

A feeling still exists that the Spanish will hit top form in this tournament.

Germany couldn’t deal with that in the final of Euro 2008, when Torres scored the winner, but they appear better prepared this time.

It is a major blow — especially after picking up what was a soft yellow card for hand ball — that Mueller, such a revelation, is suspended for Wednesday’s semi-final but in Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Özil there is enough midfield class to take on Xavi and Andres Iniseta in a mouthwatering battle that will take centre stage.

That will be compelling to watch, as will how Germany deal with the majestic David Villa, the striker who has single-handedly kept Spain’s dream alive to this point.

I was disappointed with the 2010 World Cup up until the quarter-finals, but my hope has been restored after four highly dramatic encounters and I fancy there is more to come.

Tomorrow’s semi-final between Uruguay, who overcame Ghana in such astonishing fashion, and Holland, conquerors of Brazil, will be intriguing, but it’s a starter for the main course of Germany against Spain.

I genuinely believe we could be in for an all time classic. It’s not too often you get irresistible force versus irresistible force but that’s what we’ll have if both play to their true capabilities.

Bring it on.

Belfast Telegraph

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