I'm going to be doing previews of every World Cup game from here on in. First up, the quarterfinals. Here's one on Argentina-Germany, which will be televised tomorrow at 7 a.m. Pacific (10 a.m. Eastern) on CBC.
Top scorer: Gonzalo Higuain, four goals
Top scorer: Thomas Mueller, three goals
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To me, this is the most exciting matchup of the quarterfinals. Argentina, Germany and Brazil have looked like the best sides of the tournament to me, so two of them facing off in the quarters is a tremendous prospect. There's also a good rivalry between the sides dating back to Germany's elimination of Argentina on penalties at this stage in the 2006 World Cup, and that appears to still be on the minds of all involved.
Argentina has been superb so far. Lionel Messi is leading them, and he's perhaps the one pre-tournament star that's lived up to his hype. He's certainly making a great claim to be the undisputed top player in the world. It hasn't been just him, though; Gonzalo Higuain has been a tremendous goal-poacher so far, and Carlos Tevez has shown his class once again. The Argentine defence has also been solid, only conceding two goals in four games.
Argentina hasn't faced an opponent in Germany's class, though, and they've run into very little adversity so far. By contrast, the Germans have already had their struggles, losing their second match to Serbia. They've overcome that in style, winning a tight final group match against a good Ghana team and then disposing of a very tough England side 4-1 in the Round of 16. This German side has proven able to attack and defend well, and their young players like Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski have been outstanding. Miroslav Klose and Phillip Lahm have added some veteran experience, and Joachim Loew has proven his mettle as a manager with superb tactical adjustments. In fact, it may be the coaching matchup that gives the Teutons their biggest edge in this one; I'd much rather have Loew pulling the strings than the absolutely insane Diego Maradona. This should be close, but I think Germany gets it done.
Prediction: Germany 2, Argentina 1