In a delightful doco, “In the Hands of the Gods”, Diego’s injunction is to “Love the ball, love the game”. I love the sentiment and its simplicity. And I love the fact that he can still say it after all the game has brought him, and wrought upon him. Now on the sidelines, he is still that “extraterrestial” kid juggling a ball on a patch of dirt. But I’ve always been a Maradona fan. I say forget the “hand of god”, but remember and marvel at the second. Peter Reid et al will be forever remembered.
So, I do hope Argentina beat Germany. I think they will. Argentina was one of my pre-tournament fancies given the strength of their squad, along with Spain, for similar reasons. I saw the Argentina v Brazil qualifier, and although Argentina lost 3-1, they were better, but just defended absurdly. Their defence is still their chink. Which German “ruthless efficiency” and dogged tenacity may exploit.
The two best players in the tournament will be on show: Messi and Ozil. Messi plays with a devastating incisiveness and a prodigious imagination. The simplicity of his dribbling reminds me of Best and of course Diego. He has an insatiable appetitie for the ball. Ozil is a delightful player, subtle, cultured but very effective.
Again, I say England lost because they were inept, not because the Germans were that good. Although they carved them up in a very similar manner to Australia. The first two goals were farcical. To see Terry running forward on the long ball from the German goalie, have it go over his head by about 20 metres and leave a huge hole behind him was perplexing. Combine this with James’s dithering about whether to attack the ball and then arrive too late, and its a comedy of errors. Add to this James’s charge from the near post when Podolski had no angle, only to be beaten through his legs and it is just slapstick!
Holland v Brazil will be an absorbing encounter. Holland’s play is not to my taste. Too slow, over-elaborated, ponderous from what I have seen. Brazil is efficient, all are comfortable wih the ball and it has players who can create chances out of nothing and who can score.I love watching its players move for each other. It’s like embroidery with the pattern never repeating. I think Brazil, but it could go to extra time.
In the other matches, I think Spain will win in what could be a dour struggle. Xavi and Iniesta play some delightful soccer. And finally I think Uruguay will beat Ghana.
Just think what could have been. I thought Australia in 10 in the second half were the better side against Ghana.