Germany and Argentina in Big Trouble!

Maradona's iconic dribble

The year was 1982. Maradona’s Argentina came against Belgium in the group stages. It was the match in which the iconic picture of Maradona taking on six Belgian defenders simultaneously was shot. It was rather a trick of the camera, as most of you might know already, if you have seen this photo before. Most importantly, Belgium went on to win that day, 1-0.

It won’t come as a surprise if history repeats itself tomorrow. Belgium is a TEAM with no player to depend upon, unlike Argentina. This team boasts young to-be superstars like Hazard, Lukaku, DeBruyne in attack, Coutois in between the posts and experienced heads like Kompany and Van Buyten in defence, Felliani, Witsel, Dembele in midfield. The weakest links of this team relatively are the full-backs who no one would say can’t hold their own.

Argentina on the other hand revolve around Messi. Stop Messi, stop Argentina. DiMaria on the back of his Motm performance in the Champions League Final is unable to replicate it. Aguero is out. The team looks utterly devoid of inspiration and is always waiting for something to happen – Messi.

Belgium depend on no player on the other hand. Surprsingly, they don’t play through their best player Eden Hazard and this gives them immense advantage. They should win. How Zabaleta fares against Eden Hazard, this time around, would be interesting to find out.

Coming to Germany, this should have been their year of glory. The year of their return. The power shift from Spain’s possession to German’s counter-attack. But this team has been hit hard by injuries. Several of their players are back at home including Reus, Bender twins, Gundogan. Full-backs are their Achille’s heel. Lahm should be playing as RB (where he is needed more), not drafted in midfield (where Germany have other options). The creative fulcrum lies on Ozil who looks short of inspiration so far. Muller as a striker is not someone you can’t stop. The team selection is just not right. There is no width.

France, on the other hand, are not as strong a team to win the world cup and they have problems of their own, but they are still enough to scrape past Germany. Pogba, Matuidi and Cabaye should win the midfield battle against the possession minded approach of the Germans. The attacking fullbacks of France in the form of Debuchy and Evra will expose German defense on the flanks while the Germans themselves would be unable to utilize the gaps left by Debuchy and Evra due to the lack of the natural width they currently have.

The only way I see Germany setting up a clash with Brazil in the semi-finals is Neuer pulling some outstanding saves and Schurrle providing a inspiring performance on the wings.