Four more for rampant Germany

By Gregory Mthembu-Salter in Cape Town

Posted on Sunday, 4 July 2010 16:58

Argentina could not stop the German juggernaut in Cape Town, writes Gregory Mthembu-Salter. With Spain’s win over Paraguay, Africa’s first World Cup may produce an all-European final.

This fabulous tournament has, as airline pilots say, begun its final descent and yesterday afternoon’s game between Germany and Argentina was Cape Town’s last but one before the final World Cup whistle blows and the hangover begins.

Each of Cape Town’s previous games has been played out in pretty miserable conditions but yesterday the clouds lifted, the rain stayed away and the sun shone, finally showcasing Green Point stadium’s superb location looking out to the Atlantic from the foot of Signal Hill, with a grand view of Table Mountain.

After England’s Bloemfontein massacre, and despite never having supported Argentina before, I found myself childishly yearning for them to give Germany a good thrashing. I was not alone. A number of South Africans I spoke to at the ground, and supporters of teams knocked out earlier in the competition were of the same mind, all of us jealously watching the supreme confidence of the thousands of full-voiced German fans, and pining for their come-uppance.

But our yearnings and pinings were in vain. The German team, as in Bloemfontein against the English, were rampant. Thomas Mueller set the tone, scoring the first goal for Germany within the first few minutes of the game, and Miroslav Klose should have made it 2-0 fifteen minutes later, but instead somehow skied what should have been an easy tap-in from a cross from Mueller.

Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez battled away valiantly for Argentina but to little effect. Germany’s young team proved highly effective at defending in numbers and swamping any Argentinian attacks, which generally petered out into feeble shots on goal or resulted in dispossession and German counter-attack.

Germany were even more dominant in the second half, repeatedly shredding Argentina’s defence as they had earlier sliced England’s, resulting in three more goals, two from Klose, and one from Arne Friedrich.

Unlike England, Argentina never even came close to scoring, and the game ended in a decisive 4-0 victory for Germany.

We headed disconsolately out of the stands, alongside depressed Argentines and thousands of cheering, boozy German fans singing ‘Deutschland, Deutschland’, and did our best to feel happy for them.

Bars everywhere seemed filled to overflowing as we walked to the Waterfront to catch the evening game. Half of Cape Town seemed to have had the same idea, and the place was fuller then I have ever seen it. Finally locating a table, we settled down with a motley crew of Kinois, Germans, Zambians and Capetonians to watch Spain vs Paraguay. It was a hard-fought match, and Spain’s eventual 1-0 victory was scarcely convincing, but I celebrated, figuring that if anyone was going to stop Germany it would be Spain.

We shall see. The tournament that might have been Africa’s, and then looked like it had been sewn up by South Americans, now has three European teams in the last four, and a strong chance of another all-European final, as in 2006, when Italy beat France.

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