And, at last, after a whole two days without soccer, the quarterfinals have begun, in what we think is probably the best quarterfinal matchup of all. The Argentinians have often looked like the best team here, but the Germans, you know, they're hosting, and they've looked doggone good themselves. Doggone good. You see.
Your live blogger, back from Germany, is Mike Cardillo of That's On Point, and you know that he knows his stuff. So swim the rivers of the comments, follow along after the jump, and let's try to keep it clean out there. If by "clean," you mean "FILTHY."
That's it. Auf Wiedersehen.
Schwarz und Weiss!!!!!!!!!! (Check out that video. Here's the link again. )
It's getting ugly. A pushing match has broken out. Tears for Cambiasso. Too bad.
Argentina clammed up after thier goal. Credit Germany for grinding it out. The agony and the ectasy.
Time to "Stand Up for the Champions."
Wowzers. A tip of the cap Herr Lehmann.
Argentina: Cambiasso (SAVED) Germany wins 4-2 on PKs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Germany: Borowski (made) 4-2 ... Germany on the brink !!!!!! (Celo: He has to make this or its over....Duh)
Argentina: M. Rodriguez (made) 3-2
Germany: Podolski (made) 3-1
Argentina: Ayala (SAVED) 2-1
Germany: Ballack (made) 2-1
Argentina: Cruz (made) 1-1
Germany: Nueville (made) 1-0
(Hate to toot my own horn, but I did predict Germany wins 4-2 in kicks....which is good for absolutely nothing.)
My nerves are racing and I really don't care who wins....gotta love the World Cup.
PENALTY KICKS (Brough to you by AIG, official shirt sponsor of the Manchester Bucaneers.) — ....First some U2...odd......OH BABY —- I CAN HEAR IT. FOOTBALL'S COMING HOME. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Germany can't lose.
END EXTRA TIME: that's it. We're going to kicks. Both teams are 3-0 in WC history in PKs. Oh baby.
120' — Argetina with a good FK from Max-Rod...headed out by Ballack.
118' — Tevez roofs another shot. ... Ballack returns after a nice groin rubdown. (Marcelo said it, not me.)
116' — GErman with its best chance. Decent 1-2 with Borowski and Odonkor, Odonkor's shot is right at Franco. ... Ballack is down and out on the sideline getting treatment. He's done-zo. Get the man some fluids!
115' — Yellow on Friedrich for foul on Tevez at midfield. ... Wooooh....a long ranger from Sideshow Coloccini....nearly sneaks under the bar. In fact it hit the top of the bar.
114' — Sideshow Coloccini with a crack from 25....curves wide. Decent attempt.
113' — Should this go to kicks, big edge to Germany and Arsenal-man Lehman...eve with his Hasselhoff perm.
111' — Dave O' Brien seems to really be enjoying Extra Innings....er Extra Time. .... Argentina with a corner. ... over Lehman's net.
109' — Argie corner...headed out by Ballack.
108' — Don't forget the winner of this game is guaranteed two more games with the Third Place game going to the losers of the semifinals.
106' — I'll say again — Where is Diego Maradona? ... Tevez with a crack off the restart, saved easily by Lehman. .... For those three of you here to watch Paintball...you have to wait until 9 p.m. tonight. Ratfarts.
105' — Gonzalez with a blast wide, Argentina's best chance in OT....and we are done with the first half of extra time. Not much happening here. Both sides looked gassed.
103' — For a guy that lives in SoCal, Klinsmann's sideline attaire looks rather....accountant-like. Oh man...how could I forget the US Women's Open is this weekend. Best...event....ever....
102' — Corner for Germany....header by Metzelder sails high, after a collision.
101' — Germany's subs: Odonkor, Nueville and Borowski have certainly made a bigger impact than Cruz, Cambiasso and Franco, thus far.
99' — Ballack fakes getting elbowed in the face, but escapes getting carded.
96' — Yellow to Cruz on an elbow on Lahm. ... Odonkow with some slick work on the sideline. Klinsmann made a wise choice including the young Borussia Dortmund-man.
94' — The neck gash on Tevez is absolutely terrifying. It probably helps give him his edge...but he hasn't done anything since the first half. ... DOB: 'Why haven't we seen Messi yet?" MB: "Because they used all their subs." Brilliant.
91' — I'll say this, I'm glad they dumped the Golden Goal. Not exactly the fairest way to determine things in a game this important. .. Germany looks the stronger going forward, but they have to respect the Argetina counter attack. [I made a mistake, Argetina has used all its subs and we won't see Messi.]
END REGULATION — No matter how this one ends (PKs), you have the feeling both sides are going to be talking about it for quite some time. Not the greatest game, persay, but factor in the pedigree's on the teams in involved it should be an epic finish. How much gas will Argentina have left? Ayala and Maschero have each now played close to 480 minutes of football at the Cup.
90+' — Yellow to Odonkor for a challenge on Cambiasso. ... Argie FK from 40+, probably the last chance in regulation. Ballack heads out and that's it. EXXXTRA TIME.
90+' — Danger for Germany ... but Max-Rod's corner is harmless.
90' — Germany needs to hold some possession, otherwise Argentina might just snatch one up at the last second. ... We have FOUR minutes of stoppage time.
88' — Max-Rod picks up a yellow for diving in the box. ... You can hear the the collective gasp from the crowd each time the Argies break toward the box.
87' — Both teams are trying to go for it in regulation. ... Nueville comes on for Klose. Final change for Germany. Argentina has one in the bank.... Messi? Anyone?
83' — This ought to be some great stuff in the last knockings. It cannot be overstated, when Ballack is on point, the Germans are one of the world's best. .... Meanwhile Peckerman may come to rue those subs he made.
80' — GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLL. Great work from the Germans. Ballack sends in from the left, flicked by Borowski to Miroslav Klose, who buries the header. Fifth goal for Klose. GREAT STUFF. Borowski has really made a difference. Klinsmann pulls the strings. 1-1.
79' — Klose with a chance in the box but can't handle cleanly. .. . The Deutschland chants are getting louder.
78 ' — Where is Diego. Where? The bathroom? ... Crespo off, Inter's Julio Cruz in.
77' — Borowski with a shot. Franco saves cleanly. "He needs time to get into the game."
75' — Tevez commits a foul at the top of the box. Germany with ANOTHER chance. 20+ yards....Ballack lines up over it, along with Podolski. Blasted into the wall.
74' — Bifi off, Werner Bremen's Tim Borowski on for Germany.
73' — Maxi Rodriguez with a chance......wide of the net, barely. Balboa says Rodriguez (with about 1 second to think MUST go far post.)
72' — Riquelme comes off for Cambiasso. Purely defensive move. Could come back to hurt the Argies if Germany is able to equalize. Peckerman knows how to pull the strings, though.
69' — Germany lines up a freekick, yet Abbondanzieri is in major pain after a collision with Klose. He just collasped to the ground. Looks like Leo Franco has to come in. Franco playes for Athletico Madrid. Could be a huge break for Germany. ... Btw...Bifi takes the kick well high.
67' — Germany wins another corner. ... Nothing doing once again. There might be 20+ minutes left, but they arn't playing with much of a sense of urgency.
64' — CHANCE BLOWN! Abbondezieri whiffs coming out on a corner. The ball rolls loose right to Ballack. His attempt is blocked by Ayala's chest. Germany will rune that miss.
63' — The way Ballack is paying its like he's being bogged down by whatever grease he puts into that lush black mane of his.
61' — David Odonko is readying to come in. Remember he had an assist in the 1-0 win over Poland two weeks ago. Will will see Oliver Nueville too? The Germans could use his craftiness. ... SCHNEIDER off ODONKOR on.
60' — Yellow to Maschero. Germans with a great oppurtunity right outside the box on the rightside. Podolski takes it ... skies it well wide and high. Landon Donovan would be proud.
59' — If this result holds up, I would not want to be Jurgen Klinsmann. The knives will be out. The Germans want to keep the party going another week. (Although I would take the Bakers Son to coach the USA.)
57' — Ballack with a chance, but loses the ball again.
50' — Germany trails for the first time in this tournament. The classic German atrribute is that they never stop working and can come back at any time. Considering how Argentina plays, the Germans still have a chance here. The game HAS to open up now. Paging Herr Ballack.
49' — Argentina corner...GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL., Roberto Ayala. Header off the coner. (Dave O'Brien said it was Lucho Gonzalez. Well done.) Lehman, no chance. Perfect ball from Riquelme.
47' — Podolski takes a free kick, that the Argentine keeper comes out to catch.
46' — Man, I could go for a nice plate of Currywurst or a Donner Kebab right now. The players look like they are bogged some with pig intestines. ... Sorin booked on a challenge of Friedrich. He'll miss the next match, should Argentina win.
Pre-second half: Will Germany be content to let this go to penalty kicks? They have to try something offensively. ... When will Argentina unleash Messi? But with Crespo and Tevez do they even have to?
(Hate the way ESPN is covering the Cup? Well everyone's favorite Ombudesman, George Soloman checks in.)
HALFTIME — Want some entertainment from the Germans? Click here. I need to collect myself, maybe eat a sandwich and take an advil after 'Celo's work.
45+ — Schweinsteiger takes a free kick. Argentina clears it. And thankfully that puts an end to this underwhelming display.
43' — Again, 'Celo is from another planet, calling the Argentina/Holland game one of the best he's seen. Personally I thought it was pretty dull, especially at the end since neither team really seemed to care if they won or lost. ... I don't mean to pile on, but it's painful to listen to. And I think O'Brien mixed up the Argentine schdule, saying they played Serbia first. Whatever. Maybe I'm just ranting here because this game has been so dull. We need a goal quick to make the teams come out of their shell.
42' — Wow, it took this long before O'Brien mentioned the weather. Shocking.
39' — FOUR Germans are needed to strip Tevez at the top of the penalty box. Its only a matter of time before I squeaks past one of the German oaks in the back.
37' — You think O'Brien would like to take back saying that, "German came out blitzing Sweden the first 20 minutes.'"
35' — Typical for soccer. Build up a game to be a classic and of course it turns out to be schizer. (Though as I learned in Germany, shit is shit.)
34' — Argentina free kick, nothing happening.
33' — 'Celo is giving a lecture to Lahm on how to cross the ball. Yep, I distinctly remember you 'Celo, as a defender making numerous crosses during your tenure with the USMNT. ... Lahm, it should be noted is wearing a Lex Luther (the wrestler) style wrapping on his 'bionic' elbow.
30' — A quick word on Bastian 'Bifi' Schweinsteiger. First, his name means, 'pig climber.' Second, his haircut is nothing short of awful. Basically taking a razor and zig-zagging it across, sort of like a mohawk, but not. However this makes him fashionable in German. Last, he endorsed the German version of Slim Jim, 'Bifi.' However instead of a indescriminant brown mish-mash of processed pork endtrails, the Bibi looks like a shriveled up....figure it out.
28' — Podolski with another dumb foul, though it's not going to hurt his 'Q' rating with the German teenie population, who simply can't get enough of 'Poldi'.
26' — Not much going on here. Nerves seem to be at play, both teams appear to be playing not to lose, rather than to win. Of course there are still 65 minutes (plus ET) of football to go.
23' — Our first mention of hte 1936 Olympics. ... Also, we haven't seen a shot of Diego Maradon yet. I would have set the bar at at least four shots of the Argentine icon.
21' — Maybe it's me (or the ESPN mics) but the German crowd sounds very subdued. I guess that old stereotype of Germans being joyless and stern has found its way into Berlin. It's odd because when I was in Germany, the hosts were very jubliant. Flags everywhere. Even the cops got into the fun. ... However in a game this important, its understanble that the crowd is a little tense. Still, seems quiet.
18' — Mertesacker with a shot (after a free kick) that sails well high. ... Tevez nutmegs a German defender and sends it into Sorin. Argies get a corner. Nothing comes from the corner, though Sorin had a free header.
16' — Ballack with a patented run into the box. Takes the flick from Schneider, but puts the header wide. Great chance missed.
15' — Tevez, though just 5-foot-8, is a beast. And in what no doubt rankles many Brasilains, is the best player in their league now with Corithnians. You just wonder, do they pay him enough so it doesn't look like he just spent the night sleeping under a bridge.
13' — Balboa has just talked for about a minute without taking a breath. Something about Argentina players doing the tango. ... Is it just me or does Argentina not nearly look as intimidating in the dark blue kit?
9' — I will conceed that Dave O'Brien has gotten marginally better as the tournament has progressed. Yet Balboa just won't shut up. He takes eons to get his point across. Each play doesn't need a two-minute rambling, incoherent babble. Trying to stay calm.
7' — Germany lines up a FK from 35. Podolski puts it on target, Abbondazieri muffs, but quickly covers up the rebound.
6' — Lahm sneaks up and sets up Ballack from 25 yards. Ballack, who stars in a commerical that airs during each and every Cup game in Deutschland, where he hails a cab for tourists — is stripped of the ball before he can muster a crack.
4' — Our first, of what should be many yellow cards. Lucas Podolski on a silly challenge. Over/under on yellow cards today is eight.
2' — Argentina gets its first chance, a free kick from about 45 yards. Riquelme takes it. And......foul on Argentina.
Disclaimer: We are going to try to lay off the ESPN announcers. Emphasis on try. I rewatched USA.Italy last night any Davey Boy O'Brien said that Italy defeated the hosts to win the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Um no Dave, West Germany did not host the tournament in Espana. (I set the over under on 15 minutes before I go over to Univision.)
Pregame: We just had the captains — Michael Ballack and Juan Pablo Sorin — read something to the crowd. As expected ESPN didn't bother to translate the German or Spanish or offer any idea to what they said. Maybe something about a discount at 'OBI' the German equal of Home Depot , with used match ticket.
Scanning the German team during their National Anthem, I notice neary a moustache resting on the lips on Der Mannschaft, which was the calling card of Rudi Voeller, et al in 1990. Oh right, bad perms too.
Guten tag Internet.
You're looking (live) at the 73,000 seat Olympiastadion in Berlin. Opened in 1936, it hosted the summer Olympics that year.
Most famously Jesse Owens won a ton of gold medals, sticking a great big American up-yours to Hitler. (Expect ESPN's Dave O'Brien to mention this fact at least three times today, likely during a goal.)
Today's first quarterfinal is a whopper of a match-up, pitting three-time winners Germany, the hosts, vs. two-time winners Argentina. The sides met in consecutive World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990. Argentina prevailed 3-2 in front of 114,570 in Mexico City. Der Mannschaft earned revenge, Tuetonic style four years later when they ousted the Albicelestes 1-0 in Rome. The 1990 affair will be remembered for two things — 1. it is widely regarded as the worst WC final, as the lone goal in a foul-filled affair came via a Andreas Brehme 84th minute spot kick. 2. it is the first WC cup I can remember watching.
Overall Germany (and as West Germany) owns a 2-1-1 edge vs. Argentina in World Cup play.
The squads last met in the group stage of the 2005 Confederations Cup, drawing 2-2.
That's enough of a history lesson for today. Regardless of the combantant's pedigree's, this is a mouth watering matchup, worthy of a final let alone a quarterfinal.
* Although they haven't played anyone you'd necessarily classify as 'good' or even 'slightly mediocore' Germany is 4-0-0 thus far. Argentina is 3-0-1, with their tie coming a rather meaningless Group C encounter with the Netherlands, after each team had already booked passage into the second round.
* Each team has scored 10 goals, conceeding just two.
* German striker Miroslav Klose leads all scores with four tallies. Meanwhile Hernan Crespo and Maxi Rodriguez each have three, as does Lucas Podolski for Germany.
* Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme and German midfielder Bastian 'Bifi' Schweinsteiger each have three assists to co-lead the tournament. (Riquelme also has the most touches at the tournament.)
* Both teams are hated by the English, for varying reasons.
GK: Jens Lehman
Def: Philip Lahm/Christoph Metzelder/Per Mertesacker/Arne Friedrich
Mid: Bernd Schneider/Torsten Frings/Michael Ballack/Bastian Schweinsteiger
For: Miroslav Klose/Lucas Podolski
GK: Roberto Abbondanzieri
Def: Juan Pablo Sorin/Fabricio Coloccini/Gabriel Hinze/Roberto Ayala
Mid: Javier Mascherano/Juan Roman Riquelme/Maxi Rodriguez/Luis Gonzalez
For: Hernan Crespo/Carlos Tevez
Players to watch:
Germany — Metzelder/Mertesacker (will be under constant pressure from skilled attackers all day); Ballack (Germany's best player has yet to leave his stamp on the tournament); Frings (battle vs. Riquelme is worth keeping an eye on)
Argentina — Crespo (scored in his last four WC games); Tevez (gets the start over Javier Saviola and Lionel Messi)
That's enough of my yapping.
Get comfortable, this one has penalty kicks written all over it.
Prediction: Germany 2, Argentina 2 (Germany wins 4-2 in PKs)