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South Africa 2010 roundup

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 Match (es) of the tournament

 Argentina 0-4 Germany

Joachim Loew’s young guns comprehensively outthought, outfought and outmaneuvered their supposedly more superior opponents. Germany’s defended resolutely, bossed the midfield and attacked with precision and vigor. Their fourth goal was a class apart. The icing on the cake was that it finally put paid to the overhyping of Argentina and convinced everyone what they already knew, that Maradona as a coach is quite useless.

Italy 2-3 Slovakia

Again, for pure entertainment, nothing beat Slovakia’s renouncement of Italy. End-to-end football and an absolutely topsy-turvy encounter. You did not know it was over till it was over. It had all the elements of great drama as well; the slaying of a giant by an underdog.

Player (s) of the tournament

 In descending order:

Xavi Hernandez: With all due respect, Spain would not have won the World Cup with any other player in that position. Ran more yards and made more passes than any other player in the competition. Absolutely imperious. Without Xavi, neither Spain nor Barcelona would be the best teams in the world.

Diego Forlan: In a tournament crying out for an individual hero, Forlan was the closest thing resembling. An absolute titan for Uruguay, and a deserving winner of the Golden Ball. His goal against Germany was a class apart.

Bastian Schweinsteiger: Germany’s Xavi. Louis van Gaal has reinvented Schweinsteiger as a holding midfielder, and he performs the role to excellence. Schweinsteiger was particularly impressive in Germany’s routs of England and Argentina. His tally of passes and yards run was second only to, you guessed it, Xavi. Doesn’t hurt that his WAG is quite stunning!

Goal (s) of the tournament

Fabio Quagliarella’s feather chip against Slovakia. In a game full of highlights, the stunning strike from the Udinese forward took your breath away. Personally, I jumped off my seat, head in hands.

Diego Forlan’s side volley against Germany. Hans-Jorg Butt had no chance, he just watched it crash in. Awesome technique, particularly since everyone else had been complaining about the ball.

Gio van Bronckhorst’s belter in the semifinal. Out of nowhere, from the player you least expected it from. The surprise factor trumps the beauty of the strike.

Biggest disappointment (s)

Fabio Capello. The England manager is a highly-rated tactician and one of the best managers in the world today. His struggles with England show just how much catching up the Three Lions have to do. But that still does not excuse Capello’s insistence to use the 4-4-2, a formation long scrapped to the bin of yesteryear.

Fernando Torres. The Spaniard shows he is more of a club player. Struggled spectacularly and according to statistics was slower than even Gareth Barry. Injury cannot be the only excuse. He also failed to score a single goal in qualifying.

FIFA’s no to technology, or even extra referees. England’s disallowed goal was abysmal.

Personal highlight (s)

Germany’s thrashing of Argentina was a lesson on how to play football and how not to play football.

Larissa Riquelme’s constant promises to strip naked almost had me gunning for Paraguay

My team of the World Cup

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Coach: Joachim Loew

 (GK) Iker Casillas : His save off Robben in the final alone warrants nomination

(RB) Phillip Lahm: For me, second only to Maicon in this position

(LB) Fabio Coentrao: The most impressive Portuguese player on show

(CB) Gerard Pique: He does not draw comparisons with the Kaiser for nothing

(CB) Diego Lugano: An absolute rock for Uruguay at the back; good at set-pieces

(CM) Bastian Schweinsteiger: Germany’s best player in the finals and a revelation at CM

(CM) Xavi: Few better players in world football; his passing is phenomenal

(LW) David Villa: His best games were out on the left playing off a target man

(CAM) Andres Iniesta: Fleet of foot, quick of thought and Wayne Rooney’s favourite

(RW) Thomas Mueller: Golden Boot winner, playing as a non-striker. Only 20 years old

(ST) Diego Forlan: An absolute titan. Fabulous throughout

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Written by quazi zulquarnain

July 13, 2010 at 11:12 am

Dutch ideology watermarked on World Cup 1-2-3

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Passing triangles is football's new 'old' direction

TODAY’S World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands will see an eighth champion enter the pantheon of greats. And in that, either or both of the men, who have masterminded their team’s run to the final, will be hailed as great managers and toasted across their respective countries.

It is all fair and good, since Bert van Marwijk and Vicente del Bosque are both fantastic managers and deserve to be lauded. But both men and the imperious Joachim Loew, whose Germany side made it into the semi-finals, will secretly owe a huge debt of gratitude to a poker-faced man in a leafy suburb in Munich.

And somewhere out there, Louis van Gaal will surely be toasting his ideology with a glass of the finest available champagne.

Louis van Gaal is the real winner of the World Cup

The image of van Gaal and his burning ideology is stamped like a watermark upon these teams. His shadow hangs heavy over all three and all have managed to make it into the final four of the biggest show on earth.

So what is this ideology? What do the Dutch, the Spanish and the Germans have in common, in this World Cup of contrasts?

The answer is that all three teams have an undying devotion to a common philosophy: The need to develop a culture of passing.

Over the course of the last month, much has been made about the spirit, fight and mental bottle of the teams that made it thus far. What has been consistently missed is that all three have an infallible commitment to a passing game that was first developed by Johan Cryuff and more universally applied by Louis van Gaal.

Consider just the players in the final equation. Van Gaal currently coaches Bayern Munich, a club who provided the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm and Thomas Mueller to the tournament. And that is just from the Germany side. The Netherlands have Arjen Robben and Mark van Bommel, who work with van Gaal at Bayern and both have been irrepressible in this team.

And there is more. The Spanish have Xavi and Iniesta and both men received their big breaks under Louis van Gaal in his tenure at Barcelona.

On face value, these are all different players in different positions. But what they all have in common, is the unique van Gaal trait; the ability to pass the ball. Under van Gaal, nothing is more important than this. You don’t have to be physically domineering, or prodigiously skilled. Lahm, Xavi and Iniesta are all under six foot. Mueller is hardly the most skilled player in the world.

Individual brilliance too is strictly optional; for all of Robben’s selfish forays, his ability to make swift, sharp passes is one his biggest strengths. Under van Gaal, the rule is simple. If you can pass the ball, at speed over distances, you make his team.

The van Gaal catechism is simple to learn, but hard to master. Do not pass into a team-mate’s feet, it stresses, but always ahead of him to keep the ball moving. When the first man passes to the second man, the third man must already be moving into space ready for the second man’s pass.

In short, football is about making swift passing triangles, over and over again.

Which is why kids at Ajax, Barcelona and now Bayern Munich are stuck in eternal games of four on four; two touches allowed.

It is a formula stereotypically identified as Dutch. And it is true that the Dutch pioneered it, but the Spanish perfected it and the Germans have just recently partaken it.

Van Gaal’s (and for that matter Johann Cryuff’s) influence over the biggest clubs in these countries is well documented. He oversaw the great explosion of Dutch talent from Ajax, perfected Johan Cryuff’s university of passing at Barcelona and at Bayern this season revolutionised their structure of play. On the way, he tweaked things here and there, but the basic remained the same.

And Ajax is where half of these Dutch players got their start, and Barcelona and Bayern contribute the largest quota of players to the top four teams.

The metamorphosis between the three is such that German, Dutch and Spanish football has crossbred to become almost indistinguishable. The Germans pass like Holland in disguise. The Dutch defend and counter-attack like Germans used to. Spain play like Holland circa 2000.

Once the tournament ends, most reviews will focus on the biggest stars. Instead they could do to  focus on passing cultures. The Messis, the Ronaldos and the Kakas are all on holiday. And the top three sides all adhere to the ideology of one stony-faced Amsterdammer.

Anyone else doubt that Van Gaal deserves that toast?

Futuristic Xavi is La Roja’s inspiration

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The story goes that during David Beckham sojourn at Real Madrid, he was surprised to see Zinedine Zidane take time out after every training session to work on his ball control.
Zidane’s method was simple, even somewhat agricultural. The Frenchman apparently shot the ball up in the air as far as he could and then practiced receiving it, as close to his body as possible. Amazingly straightforward.

And the lesson from this small anecdote is just that.

The greatest players in the world are the ones who can do the simple things the best.

So, step forward Xavi Hernandez. The Spanish midfielder has been the

The master of tikki-taka

fulcrum of the La Roja squad who have ambled (there really is no other word for it), their way into the World Cup final.

Spain play a mesmerizing brand of football, idiosyncratic in the maximum, elaborate but at the same time controlling, and believe it or not defensive. One journalist described them as attractively defensive. It is not far off the mark. Spain asphyxiates their opponents. Spain devour their opponents, slowly, steadily, like a boa constrictor eating a rabbit. They don’t attack, but probe, press, and pass. Pass you to figurative death. And Xavi is usually the mastermind of this murder.
Forever plotting behind the scenes, but as imperative and essential as your heartbeat.
Just to give you a measure of Xavi’s anti-hero; when the Barcelona midfielder was included in the top five at the Fifa World Player award ceremony in January 2009, alongside Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Fernando Torres, the British Daily Mail’s headline famously ran: “The best players of the world (and Xavi).

Xavi is a fantastic player, albeit one who lacks the flash of any of his aforementioned glorified compatriots. His genius is not that evident; his innovative moves lack the in-your-face glory of a Messi slalom, or a Ronaldo free-kick, or a Kaka burst at pace.

His genius is in doing the simple things, right, time and time again. Xavi’s genius lies in his passing. “I am basically a passer,” was Xavi’s modest self-assesment. And so he is. He belongs to Barcelona after all. “Receive, pass, offer,” is the simple message, the obsession, a badge of identity that runs right through the club, driven into players from the moment they join. Xavi joined in 1991 and no one represents that obsession better than him.

And it’s not just his passing. It is his vision, his ability to read the game better than his opponents that sets himself apart.

Teammate Dani Alves once famously said, “Xavi plays in the future.” What he meant was that Xavi’s understanding was such that he often knew what the player should do before the other player did himself. His pass then set his teammate up for that exact move.
If Spain are to lift the World Cup on Sunday, much of the credit will go to the likes of Andres Iniesta and David Villa. Many will overlook the contribution of the man they call the metronome.
But the ones who matter will know.
Spanish football expert Sid Lowe wrote an engaging commentary a few months back. He concluded by stating that while Messi may be the best player in the world, without Xavi, he might not be.
Similarly, Spain may be the best team in the world, but without Xavi they would definitely not be.

Written by quazi zulquarnain

July 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Chronicles of a death foretold

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Mueller ensures that Maradona will remember him this time

Somewhere between the 4-1 mauling of South Korea and the inimitable press conferences, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Diego Armando Maradona was a man hurtling irrefutably towards his destiny.

The fortunes of Maradona and the World Cup have been inexorably linked ever since that majestic day in 1986 when he claimed both the ‘Hand of God’ and the greatest World Cup goal ever scored. Crucially though, that was Maradona the player. This, however, is Maradona the coach. So, twenty-four years from the day that a stocky, curly haired young man slalomed his way into enduring memory, a slightly graying 49-year old exited the World Cup in ignominy.

For many, a deity had fallen.

But the truth is that this was always on the cards. Even in their most comprehensive wins, even in all their pretty patterns and even in all that arrogant back-talk there was always the lingering feeling that this Argentina side, really was not up to scratch.

Not that they lacked players in that department. Any side that can leave a Champions League winning goalscorer in Diego Milito on the bench, boasts enough talents to win a trophy. But for every Milito, there was also a Burdisso. And there was really no-one to paper over those cracks.

Lionel Messi is easily the best player in the world. But as the World Cup progressed the Barcelona man increasingly started to develop into a sort of talismanic figure for Argentina fans. Any questions about the suitability of the squad were met with the fact that they possessed the best player in the world.

But at the end, football is a team game, and as Ossie Ardiles so eloquently put it, ’11 individuals cannot better 1 team.’ Which is exactly what happened in the quarterfinal.

The Germans played like a team, each player perfectly complimenting the other. Their movement was impeccable, intelligent and piercing. Every move was worked, reworked and each player knew what the other was supposed to do. Bastian Schweinsteiger, in particular, was impeccable; his passing, distribution and control of the pace of the game completely overwhelming the Argentina midfield.

Argentina were set-up all wrong. Messi playing way too far from goal and often dropping into midfield and even beyond to pick up the ball.  It was something the Germans were happy to let him do, since when he faced goal he often saw two banks of four infront of him. And even Messi cannot beat them all. The space he so successfully occupies for Barcelona was filled by Carlos Tevez and Maradona’s favorite player was infuriatingly frustrating. All hustle and bustle, but zero output.  

Maradona did not go quietly

The exact opposite of Thomas Mueller.  The Bayern Munich player’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of astronomical. Just last year he was playing in front of a few hundred spectators in the German third division. In March, Maradona seemingly missed his entire 67 minute debut and thought of him as a ball-boy. On Saturday, he played the integral role in kicking the Albiceleste out of the World Cup. He scored the opening goal and provided a spectacular lay-off for Lukas Podolski to square for Miroslav Klose’s opening goal.

Klose bagged another as the Germans ripped the Argentina defence to shreds near the end and his emphatic volley took him to fourteen goals in the World Cup, one short of Ronaldo’s fifteen. With two more definitive games, who will bet against him?

This was supposed to be the match of the tournament. The pseudo-final. But Germany turned it into a veritable mismatch and at the end, Maradona’s facial expression was adequate clue as to the spectacularly depleting fortunes of his squad.

Maradona is crass, undignified and a sore loser, or, charismatic, straight-up and inimitable, depending on who you believe. The truth as always is somewhere in the middle. But he is one of football’s greatest characters. We can’t live with him, but we can’t live without him.

What he is not, is a great manager. It is most likely that Saturday was the end of the Maradona’s reign as Argentina boss. And for that Argentina should be thankful. This group of players is far too talented to go to waste under the tutelage of a man such as Maradona. His appointment itself reeked of irrationality and in the end one hopes that the Argentina federation will learn that nothing, not even aspirations of destiny, beats logic. In the end, Maradona’s greatest achievement as a manager was to convince the watching world that his team could win the World Cup.

For Germany though, the past as ever, holds little currency.  It was a magnificent performance but the Germans have a famous saying ‘nach dem spiel ist vor dem spiel.’ Roughly translated it equals to ‘after the game is before the game.’

Sepp Herberger’s famous mantra, should drive them on.

The best team in the world is next. But then so it was in 1954 as well. And look how that turned out.

Written by quazi zulquarnain

July 4, 2010 at 10:19 am

Best & Worst of South Africa 2010

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So since the quarterfinals have now given us some room to breathe, a dissection of the World Cup is in order. So without further ado, here goes.

Most attractive teams:

Germany & Argentina. The two are set to partake in what, on paper atleast, looks to be a feast of football. Both teams have been inconsistent, but if the Argentineans can play as well as they did against South Korea and Greece and if the Germans can replicate the form of Australia and England, this will be a quarterfinal with enduring memory.

Honorable mention to Chile for regaling us with a brand of fiesty attractive, but if somewhat futile football. Long live Bielsa’s naivety.

Most insipid teams:

Portugal & England. For sides boasting the talents of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, both England and Portugal were poor for the length of the tournament. Both men struggled to impose themselves and while Portugal still covered their goalscoring failings by being rock solid at the back, England managed to flunk that department as well. Cue a ‘root & branch’ analysis.

Most dangerous team:

Brazil. They are your old school axe-murderers. One blow and it is all over. Unlike Spain who consistently probe and look for gaps, Brazil spend most of the game passing patiently, keeping possession. They are solid and impermeable at the back, but they counter-attack at a hundred miles an hour. Superb from set-pieces and not lacking in individual quality, the Selecao will take some stopping.

Match of the tournament:

For pure unadulterated drama, Slovakia v Italy. Topsy-turvy encounter, end-to-end football, and like every great game, you never knew it was over, till it was over. Fabio Quagliarella’s sublime strike was the icing on the cake.

Worst match of the tournament:

I think this will be unanimous. Portugal v Brazil. Woeful match by both sides content with a draw. More brawn than beauty on show. Magnificent let-down.

Biggest controversies:

Frank Lampard’s ghost goal & Carlos Tevez’s offside header. Germany and Argentina both received huge slices of luck. In Germany’s case a disallowed goal for England showed the necessity for goalline technology. In Argentina’s case a clear offside missed by officials was the beginning of the end for Mexico.

Biggest WAG controversy:

Despite the likes of Abigail Clancy staying away, the WAGs still managed to permeate the World Cup. Sara Carbonero of Spain and Iker Casillas’ significant other risked the ire of the Spanish press by … just doing her job. Most were upset that she was so close to Casillas during the game, alleging that it made him lose his concentration.

Biggest letdown

The refereeing has been abysmal. Kaka’s sending off against Ivory Coast a case in point. Fifa’s reluctance to embrace technology or extra referees, also shocking.

Biggest surprise

Ghana has long been identified as Africa’s best side. But here they showed they can mix it with the best. Tactically perhaps the most accomplished side in the tournament, Ghana is a team full of players who know what they have to do. The match with a similar Uruguay will be exciting.

Story of the World Cup so far

Two words. Diego Maradona. Crass, brilliant and superstition all rolled into one. Is there a bigger superstar in world football than Diego Maradona? (and a worse role model?)

The “omg, this guy is good” player

I won’t say Mesut Oezil, because I have been following him closely for a while now. Nor Thomas Mueller because he just played the Champions League final. My pick is Matias Fernandez. The Chilean playmaker from Sporting, is the straw that stirs the Chilean drink. Cool on the ball, with vision and passing, his importance to the side is illustrated by the fact that Chile lost the only two games he did not play, due to an eerie decision by Marcelo Bielsa.

Best-looking fan

Last World Cup we had Heidi Klum. This time, Larissa Riquelme takes the cake. Who is betting on a Paraguayan triumph?

World Cup XI

Important to note is that this team was selected on the basis of a formation; 4-2-3-1 in the parlance of the time. So please consider this as the best players for the particular positions as regards their performance in the World Cup, rather than just holistically the best players overall.

Goalkeeper:

Eduardo: Portugal conceded a single goal all tournament and much of this was down to the brilliance of this 27 year old. Was solid all tournament and made some exceptional saves in the game against Spain.

Left-back:

Fabio Coentrao: It was a toss-up between Michel Bastos and the Portuguese, but Coentrao gets the nod because of his impeccable performances so far. The Benfica player has been a standout so far and provides the Portuguese with tactical mobility.

Center-backs:

Gerard Pique: Calmness personified at the back, almost Kaiser-ish in his forays into midfield and attack.  Very solid in all the games so far despite the blip against Switzerland. The exception who proves the Nike ad ‘epic fail’ rule.

Lucio: Lucio has had some lapses of concentration and he faced stiff competition from Antonin Alcaraz of Paraguay. But Lucio adds much to Brazil’s game with his languid runs from the back.

Right-back:

Maicon: Again, a toss-up between him and Phillip Lahm and the Brazilian is in, by virtue of his quite stunning goal against North Korea. Patrols the right on his own and has done his burgeoning reputation no harm in this World Cup.

Central midfield:

Bastian Schweinsteiger: The German has reinvented himself in a new role, and has become the heartbeat of the side. Steady in possession and his distribution has been impeccable. He has made the most number of passes of any player in the World Cup so far.

Javier Mascherano: Did not have the best end of the season at Liverpool but the midfield hardman has shone as Argentinean captain and is one of the key reason that Argentina can play their expansive shape. There have been better players than him this World Cup, but hardly anyone better in this destructor role.

Attacking midfield:

Lionel Messi: Despite not having scored a single goal so far, although he has had the most shots on target, Messi is increasingly the straw that stirs the drink for the Albiceleste. Not much more needs to be said about the best player in the world. He also edges out Mesut Oezil in this role, although the German has been a revelation so far

Left-wing:

Andres Iniesta: Whenever Iniesta is fit, Spain have played better. He is full of running, intelligent movement and creativity. Even fit well into his shuttled role on the right-wing. Wayne Rooney called him, ‘the best player in the world.’

Right-wing:

Thomas Mueller: His coach calls him cheeky, Maradona called him a ball-boy. But with three goals and three assists Mueller has been directly involved in more goals than any other player in the World Cup. Hard to believe, just last year, he was playing the German third division.

Striker:

David Villa: Has been outshining his more illustrious teammate Fernando Torres in the World Cup and for much of the period before it. Four goals and is a fair bet to finish top scorer.

Written by quazi zulquarnain

July 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Technology, Tevez and Thomas Mueller

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The debate over video technology exploded into full bloom on Sunday as both Argentina and Germany advanced in controversial circumstances to set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal clash for next Saturday.

For Argentina, Carlos Tevez headed in a Lionel Messi pass when he was almost three yards offside, while England’s denial of clear goal from a Frank Lampard volley was even more damning. It is quite inexplicable why FIFA continues to insist on living in the Stone Age when technology to make such a decision is readily available to them.  Sepp Blatter’s assurance that, it will slow down the game holds little weight, but even if it does, what is the excuse for not having a referee behind the goal? UEFA’s successful experiment in the Europa League with two extra men behind the goal would have prevented both incidents yesterday. And in games of such magnitude as yesterday, it is impossible to see FIFA’s logic and rationale.

But decisions aside, England will have little to complain about. A team packed full of Premier League stars were dismantled piece by piece by a German side full of youthful vigour and swift interplay.

England’s first mistake was to play a 4-4-2, which meant that Germany playing their usual 4-2-3-1 automatically had a man up in midfield. And crucially for England, that man was often Mesut Oezil. The German playmaker is a captivating youngster, full of intelligent movement and imaginative passing. Given room to exploit, he did not disappoint, consistently proving the thorn in the English side. But he was still not the best German on show.

That honour belonged to Thomas Mueller. The Bayern Munich talent has had a meteoric rise to fame. Just last season he was playing in the lower echelons of the German third division. And on Sunday night his two goals knocked England out of the World Cup. Stratospheric.

Mueller was Germany's spark

Alongside Mueller and Oezil, Bastian Schweinsteiger also turned in an imperious display and Germany completely played England off the park in a vintage performance. The only time England had their foot in the game was for 10 minutes before the end of the first half, and to their credit they might have pulled themselves level at that time, had it not been for the dubious linesman call.

At the end though, despite the could haves, most in England were united in their belief, that they had been thoroughly outplayed.  Inquests for Fabio Capello are forthcoming, after a listless England showing devoid of any cohesion.

Tevez's bomb

In the day’s last game, Carlos Tevez’s illegitimate goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Mexico who then proceeded to gift the Argetineans a goal with a shocking error by Ricardo Osorio.

To their credit, Mexico kept Lionel Messi well in check, but this Argentina side is packed with talent and when Carlos Tevez bombed in his second, there was little doubt as to the winner despite Manchester United recruit Javi Martinez’s late strike.

Argentina though, did not play as well as they had in their last two games and a last eight clash with Germany now gives them a chance to avenge the defeat at the same phase four years ago.

It will be a fascinating clash as both sides are packed with attacking talent but look somewhat suspect in defence, Germany slightly more so than Argentina. Goals are likely to be on the menu; which probably means it will end an insipid draw.

Written by quazi zulquarnain

June 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Germany player ratings vs Ghana

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Manuel Neuer (7): Not the most assured performance from the Schalke stopper. Looked unusually nervous on a number of occasions and messed up a corner. Made a big stop though to redeem himself.

Phillip Lahm (8): Probably the best German player on the night. Bailed out the defence on a number of occasions. Not really an attacking threat going up front though, except a few occassions.

Jerome Boateng (7): A lot more solid than Holger Badstuber. Held up on the left very ably. But attack wise struggled to make much of an impact since he had to consistently check back on his right foot.

Per Mertesacker (4): Awful performance from the Werder stopper. Lost numerous challenges in the air and his positioning was suspect throughout. Really needs to pick up his form.

Arne Friedrich (7.5): Bailed out Mertesacker on a number of occasions. Started moves by confidently moving the ball into midfield. Has really grown into this central defensive role.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (8): Swiftly developing into a midfield maestro. Schweinsteiger was cool and composed in possession, swift and deadly in the tackle and controlled the pace of the game, with his almost faultless distribution. Man of the match

Sami Khedira (6.5): As seems his forte, put in a lot of legwork in midfield. Ran up and down the pitch, covered the most ground and make intelligent forays. Needs to be imposing himself more into games and taking control, but that might be an unfair comparison with Michael Ballack.

Lukas Podolski (5.5): Quite shocking from Podolski. Was almost a black-hole in possession and made countless wrong choices; shooting when he should have passed and running when he should have shot. Put in zero crosses, although that might also be a consequent of Germany not playing a traditional center-forward. His 90 minutes on the pitch is a mystery.

Thomas Mueller (7): Not as effective as in the Australia match, but still had numerous bright moments and delivered when the going got tough. Made the pass for the Oezil goal and looked to make things happen. Put in a few decent crosses as well.

Mesut Oezil (7): Despite his absolutely wonderful goal, Oezil often struggled to impose himself in this game as he tried to free the shackles imposed by the Ghana midfield trio. Missed a glaring one-on-one chance, but redeemed himself later with a goal to savor.

Cacau (6.5): Worked his socks off and made several intelligent runs. But not the same threat with his movement as Miroslav Klose is, but that is mostly down to him being more of a second striker than a leading the line player.

Written by quazi zulquarnain

June 24, 2010 at 9:33 am

Posted in World Cup 2010

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