Monday, July 7, 2014

World Cup Semis ... from a female perspective

And then there were four; four teams and four World Cup semifinalists worthy of our admiration. We said "Au revoir" to Olivier Giroud of France and Nacer Chadli of Belgium, and "Adios" to Yeltsin Tejada of Costa Rica and James (Hi-mez) of Colombia. But those four who remain... well, let's just say I don't expect these semi final games to disappoint.

Game 1


Germany vs. Brazil
Tuesday July 8 
4 p.m.

Representing Germany, we have Mats Hummels!
Mats Hummels, Germany

After somehow missing Mats in the first round, he has made a strong comeback. The 6'4" central defender scored a beautiful header in the quarterfinals against France. Much like in WWII, the Germans out-muscled the French, in no small part to Hummels (too soon?).

Representing Brazil, we have Oscar (Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior), the Chelsea attacking midfielder.
Oscar, Brazil

With the unfortunatel and devastating injury to Brazil's superstar Neymar, the hopes of the host nation lies squarely on the young shoulders of 22-year-old Oscar. With only one goal in the tournament and the expectation of 200 million Brazilians, I expect Oscar to step up to the role, but his for team to still have a difficult time against the much bigger and stronger German side.

Result: Losing Naymar is a killer for Brazil, and the squad hasn't even looked at good to begin with. The Germans are in their fourth-straight World Cup semi final and I expect them to push Brazil around physically in a way they aren't used to and won't react well to. Look for Die Mannschaft to head to their sixth World Cup final.

Game 2

The Netherlands
    The Netherlands vs. Argentina
Wednesday, July 9

 4 p.m. 

For The Netherlands, we have their captain, Robin van Persie. This Dutch team isn't the Oranje of yore - it is the trickery of coach Louis van Gaal that has gotten them further in this tournament than anyone expected.

Robin van Persie, The Netherlands
The Dutch were clearly the stronger team in their quarterfinal match against Costa Rica, but their inability to score, primarily van Persie's multiple misses, are troubling. But if the Flying Dutchman - a moniker he earned after his diving header against Spain in the opening game of the World Cup - can get back to his form of the first two games of the tournament, Lionel Messi and his squad will have their hands full trying to reach the final.

Ezequiel Lavezzi, Argentina
Representing the other South American semi finalist nation, we have Ezequiel Lavezzi of Argentina. As Sergio Aguero's replacement in the last two games, Lavezzi, has done a fair job of supporting fellow attackers Gonzalo Higuain and superstar Lionel Messi. However, with Aguero being declared fit to play in the semifinal match, it is unclear if Lavezzi will have a starting role. He has played well enough, but is not the proven goalscorer that Aguero is - something the Argentinian squad will desperately need against Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and the rest of the hungry Dutch squad.

Result: Without Messi, this Argentinian squad wouldn't have even made the quarterfinals. But the Dutch weren't supposed to be here, either. But with Angel DiMaria's thigh tear, Argentina's second best player and Messi's right-hand man is out, which spells disaster for the South Americans. If the Oranje can score like they did in the first round (which requires van Persie to return to form after a slight hamstring injury in practive before the quarters), then I don't see the injury-riddled La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue) matching them on the scoreboard, and the Dutch heading to their second-straight World Cup final.

If all goes according to my predictions, we'll have a German-Dutch World Cup final at Estádio Maracanã, in Rio de Janeiro.

The Netherlands

Will this be our World Cup Final?
Check it out:
Sunday, July 13,
3 p.m on ABC

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