Today’s titanic matchup of Germany and Argentina would have served as a just final, which makes this quarterfinal matchup so intriguing. One of these sides will be going home earlier than expected… which one? It will come down to the managers.
Germany’s manager Juergen Klinsmann, much maligned before the tournament started for his reliance on inexperienced players and his insistance on commuting from California, has pushed all the right buttons for the Mannshaft thus far. Young players Philip Lahm, Lukas Podolski and Bastien Schweinsteiger have provided a creative spark to the traditionally staid Germans. Will Klinsmann continue to inspire?
On the other hand, many critics believe Argentina has performed well despite the lackluster efforts of manager Jose Pekerman, who has yet to find a way to get wunderkind Lionel Messi on the field from the beginning of the game. Young Leo has been perhaps the most dangerous and exciting player in the tournament – and that’s only in the last 20 minutes of the match! Carlos Tevez also deserves a mention for his performance thus far. It might be time for Pekerman to pass the torch from Crespo/Saviola/Riquelme(!) to Messi and Tevez. Argentina’s World Cup survival will require as much.
The manager who gets it right will be on course for a spot in the Final – while the other may as well ready his resume for Sunil Gulati and the boys at US Soccer.