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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Football World Cup

The final before the final. Argentina v. Germany in the quarter final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

It is sad to see a great team lose, but when two giants meet in a knockout match there can only be one winner and it was Germany in yesterday's quarter final.

Argentina played great football, but Germany proved to be the stronger and tougher team on the day. The absence of their main goalkeeper during the penalty shoot out also played a part in Argentina's 5-3 (1-1 after 120 mins) loss to Germany on a penalty shoot out (4-2) in the quarter final of the FIFA world cup.

Argentina controlled the better part of the first half, Germany had more possession in the secind half and there was little to choose between the teams. The match was played in the mid field with strong defence from both teams, however an extra striker would have made the difference for Argentina, but they didn't give Messi or Saviola a chance to show their skills.

The Argentine coach should have been bold in his substitutions and brought on Messi or Saviola in the last twenty minutes of the game to take the attack to Germany. The Argentines didn't do that, tried to play in the mid-field and Germany pushed forward to get a late equalizer through Miroslav Klose's fantastic header in the 80th minute of the match.

From there it was Germany's superior physical fitness and determination (the smashing penalty kick taken by their captain Michael Ballack who could hardly walk on the field during the last few minutes of the match), plus the diving saves of their goalkeeper Jan Lehmann that separated the two teams.

Hard luck, Argentina and all the best for the next world cup in South Africa in 2010.

Germany start as strong favourites against Italy in the first semi-final. Watch it Live on ESPN at 12:30am IST on Wed., 5 July.

Brazil and Germany are on course for a meeting on the 9th of July in Berlin, unless France or Portugal have other plans.

- Photographs from the 2006 football World Cup in Germany.