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World Cup Key Battles: Argentina - Germany

World Cup Key Battles: Argentina - Germany

Goal.com looks at the some key match ups from the quarter-final clash in Cape Town.

It’s all up for grabs in this one as two-time winners Argentina take on three-time champions Germany.

The last time these teams met in a World Cup four years ago it came down to a penalty shoot-out and there is just as little to separate the intriguing, talented, and historical rivalry this time around. There are several key match-ups to be highlighted.

Note: Castrol Rakings are in brackets.

Lionel Messi (1) v Philipp Lahm (117) and co.


If you look at the tactics sheet, Messi plays in behind the two strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez, but the diminutive superstar will drift around and change positions, coming deep and out to the wings as well. He will, during the match, come up against all members of the Germany back-line.

Captain Philipp Lahm has been arguably the best full-back in South Africa and in order to stop the highest scoring team in the tournament so far (as of the end of the Round of 16) he will need to keep the defence organised. With Messi pulling the strings, Loew’s back four not only need to be attentive to his mazy dribbles, but also stop him from linking up with Tevez and Higuain in the danger areas in and around the box.

Martin Demichelis (62) v Miroslav Klose (1230)

While the Albiceleste have looked brilliant going forward in this competition, many are still unconvinced by their backline and specifically centre-back Martin Demichelis. The defender, who was embarrassed by compatriot Diego Milito in the Champions League final back in May, has looked shaky in the tournament, even gifting South Korea  a goal in the second group game.

Against an old fox like Klose, his team-mate at Bayern Munich, he will have to make sure no mistakes creep into his game as the veteran is always poised to take advantage, as he did to John Terry and Matthew Upson against England. In fact, the 29-year-old Demichelis even told the press he wants to avoid putting in a Terry-like horror show against the Europeans.

Javier Mascherano (305) & Gabriel Heinze (119) v Mesut Oezil (64) & Thomas Mueller (223)

Oezil and Mueller have been combining to great effect for Germany in South Africa on the counter and Argentina duo Mascherano and Heinze must find a way to shut them down. Neither the Liverpool nor Marseille man are in Maradona’s team with any true need to get forward and their job will be to shut down two of the blossoming stars of this tournament. Oezil’s tendency to drift wide and link up with Mueller means that Mascherano will have to keep one eye on him at all times and offer a tackle or two in assistance of Heinze to dispel the German pairing’s creative juices.



Onto the tacticians...

Diego Maradona v Joachim Loew

Despite Argentina’s fine start to the World Cup, many still ponder whether Maradona (who some say is brilliant and others say is mad) can actually lead this team to the World Cup title. Their opposition thus far has been fairly tame, but Germany will no doubt be the best they have faced in South Africa and a true test of his and his sqaud’s credentials.

For Loew, he will want to set up another counter-attacking masterclass from his side and they must continue to be efficient in typical German style. On another note, perhaps Loew should worry about not getting caught picking his nose!

Who will come out on top? Check out Castrol Football's 2010 FIFA World Cup Match Predictor.

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