High-scor­ing Ger­mans are the team to beat

Other semi­fi­nal­ists haven’t shown as much of­fense

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS BRIEFING -

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.”

Miroslav Klose

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