After Tuesday’s German assault on Belo Horizonte, no one can pretend to know what the hell is going to happen when Argentina and the Netherlands face each other Wednesday afternoon.
What we can expect, on the other hand, is plenty of offense. A complete offensive virtuoso, if you will.
In baseball, there’s a saying that “chicks dig the long ball.”
Apply that saying to soccer, and this is the match for you!
Four years ago, Argentina’s manager and icon Diego Maradona decided to go against conventional wisdom and tactics and play every attacking player his nation could possibly field.
The Argentinians got crushed in the quarterfinals 4-0 by a team with better tactics that played together.
That team was Germany.
Sound familiar? (Sorry, Brazil. Too soon.)
This time around, the last South American side left standing is playing much more tactically sound soccer.
While it still fields the best player in the world (Lionel Messi) and a great attacking cast (Kun Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi), Argentina doesn’t only attack.
The team has an experienced back line and good defensive midfielders, led by Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano.
For the Dutch, the game is another outing for the players that have been their backbone for almost a decade.
Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie got them to the World Cup final in South Africa in 2010 and could do it once again in similar fashion.
The trio has combined for 11 of Holland’s 16 goals thus far and provide a threat not many other teams defend, or comprehend.
Defensively, the Dutch are improving. They are young and talented, but are not quite ready to compete with the world-class attacking lineup Argentina possesses.
So what does all of this mean?
This game will be won by one of the defenses. Whoever messes up defensively the least will win.
Who will that be? I don’t have the slightest clue.
The only thing I — or anyone, for that matter — can predict with any certainty is that the winner will play Germany, and the loser won’t.
Look at the bright side though, the game has to be a more competitive match than yesterday … right?