High-scoring Germans are the team to beat
Other semifinalists haven’t shown as much offense
JOHANNESBURG — Germany is the team to beat as the World Cup comes down to four contenders, with Spain, the Netherlands and Uruguay looking for a way to beat a team that has peaked at just the right time.
With 13 goals in five games, Germany has sent home Argentina and England with ease, scoring four goals each time. The three other semifinalists have been less impressive.
At the end of the first round, South American teams were set to dominate the competition. Only Uruguay remains, with favorite Brazil falling to the well-organized Dutch.
The Europeans and South Americans have each won nine World Cups, so one of them is guaranteed to edge ahead next Sunday. No European team has won a World Cup staged outside the continent.
Germany outplayed Argentina 4-0 in Cape Town on Saturday with Miroslav Klose scoring twice to take his total from three World Cups to 14 goals. He has two more games to beat the career record of 15
had two goals in Germany win over Argentina. by Brazil’s Ronaldo.
The Germans, who have not won the title since 1990, also got four goals against Australia and England. They are looking ominously good.
“The team showed a level of a champion,’’ coach Joachim Loew said after the destruction of Argentina. “It was absolute class.”
Supremely organized and devastating on the counterattack, Germany has blended experience and youth. While 20year-old Thomas Mueller has added three goals to 32-year-old Klose’s four, 21-year-old Mesut Oezil supports neatly in midfield with the experienced yet young Bastian Schweinsteiger. The whole team has a consistent, solid look.
Spain, by contrast, has stumbled on its way to the final four, edging Paraguay 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Saturday after both teams missed penalty kicks.
“A rival like Germany works better for us than one like we had in Paraguay,” said David Villa, who is one shy of matching Raul Gonzalez’s national record of 44 international goals.
“Germany’s a great team with an incredible run of results, always a tough opponent and probably the team in best form at this World Cup. They should inspire us.”