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The semi finals

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After 4 weeks of the 2014 World Cup, we are down to the last four.  The two semi-finals are:

Brazil v Germany; 

Argentina v Netherlands.

It could not have worked out better.  Two European countries and two South American countries.  Europe v South America in both semi-finals leaving open the tantalizing prospect of an all European final, an all South American final and a game between one country from each continent.

The four countries have pedigree. Brazil has won the World Cup five times, Argentina twice.  Germany has twice won the World Cup – West Germany if you wish to be pedantic. Netherlands have never won the World Cup but having lost in three finals are due a win.

At the individual level there is Lionel Messi, keen to emulate Maradona and lead his country to victory. Brazil may struggle without Neymar.  Netherlands have three world-class players in Wesley Sneijder, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben and Germany has that nice blend of youth and experience.

The four quarter-finals were extremely tight – three being decided by a single goal and the other going to penalties.  Don’t expect the semis to produce a goal feast. Germany won a group game 4-0 and Netherlands 5-1 but both would bite your hand off for a 1-0!

Argentina last met Netherlands in the World Cup in 1998, when Netherlands won 2-1 in the quarter-final before going on to lose to Brazil.  Could that be an omen, I wonder? Germany and Brazil met in the 2002 final, which Brazil winning 2-0 with the World’s best goalkeeper at the time, Oliver Kahn, making a terrible mistake at a crucial moment.

Whatever happens, we are in for a treat.

germans

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