Preview: Germany v Argentina

Many people believe the World Cup final may have come two matches early when Germany meet Argentina in Berlin on Friday.

A Messi game on the way?
A Messi game on the way?

The match is steeped in World Cup history with the sides having met in two previous finals.

In 1986 Diego Maradona led Argentina to their last World Cup victory when they defeated West Germany 3-2 in Mexico.

Four years later the Germans had their revenge when they defeated the South Americans 1-0 in Rome to capture the title.

This was the last time the Germans have enjoyed the taste of victory against the Albiceleste with the South Americans winning the next two matches before the sides met twice last year on German soil with both matches finishing 2-2.

But with the hosts on a roll coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes the time is now.

“Argentina are a great team but we can compete with them and I am sure we can beat them,” Klinsmann said, who himself was a member of the victorious 1990 team.
“From what I have seen of the other countries in this tournament we do not need to hide from anyone.”

His captain Michael Ballack echoed his sentiments.

“We do not fear anyone. Argentina are a top class team and deserve our respect but we are confident of beating them to reach the semi-final,” the Chelsea bound player said.

Home ground support is proving once again decisive as the hosts seem to be going from strength to strength as a wave of public confidence pushes them.

Their opponents though feel they have the big game experience to handle the pressure cooker which the Olympiastadion is set to become.

Captain’s call

Captain’s call

“Against Germany, we have to win – however we can,” Argentina captain Juan Pablo Sorin said.

“We’re playing a contender to win it, and all of the fans will be against us.
“Let’s hope we can surprise them with the experience of having played more important games in the last several years,” he added referring to the fact that Germany did not play a competitive game for two years before the Cup.

This extended break was thought to be detrimental to the side’s chances, but it seems anything but at this stage.

The main question surrounding the game is: will the Germans be able to cope with the huge number of Argentinean players who are able to turn the game with a flash of individual brilliance?

The runners up in 2002 are already aware of that problem.

“We can not make the mistake of concentrating on one player as Argentina have a lot of players that can decide the game,” admitted Germany’s Werder Bremen midfielder Torsten Frings.

Looking forward to bigger Frings

Looking forward to bigger Frings

“I can not imagine running around after Riquelme for 90 minutes.”

The hosts have got off to a flying start in three of their four games so far, scoring goals in the first six minutes, and Argentina’s hero from the last game against Mexico Maxi Rodriguez knows they won’t be given any time to settle in.
“Germany won’t allow us to settle down or give us a moment’s freedom,” Rodriguez said.
“That means Argentina will look to knock them down right from the start.”

No team changes

Despite a number of protests from reserve keeper Olivier Kahn it is unlikely that coach Klinsmann will hand him the gloves any time soon and with Ballack and leading goal scoring Miroslav Klose back in training the side looks to pick itself.

Argentina’s Jose Pekerman will again be forced to decide whether to start or when to inject strikers Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi as he continues to look to balance his strike force with the experience of Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola.

While the last two matches on German soil were a draw, in this match we are guaranteed a winner with a place in the semi finals awaiting the victor.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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