Finally, World Cup vitriol runneth over

CanWest News Service
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Argentinians, Germans trade shots in advance of their quarter-final battle

Nothing like some translated trash talk to get the juices flowing. There's so much spittin' going on, you'd think Cristiano Ronaldo had gone and taken out German or Argentinian citizenship.

Outside of the Parental-Guidance-Advised antics of Diego Maradona, looking like Gabe Kaplan gone to seed with a Barry Melrose hair transplant, this has been an irritatingly milquetoast tournament.

Argentinian coach Maradona has never been shy about speaking his mind, but when it comes to his teams World Cup soccer quarter-final against Germany Saturday in Cape Town, he isnt the only one willing to stir the pot. Photo by The Associated Press

Nothing like some translated trash talk to get the juices flowing. There's so much spittin' going on, you'd think Cristiano Ronaldo had gone and taken out German or Argentinian citizenship.

Outside of the Parental-Guidance-Advised antics of Diego Maradona, looking like Gabe Kaplan gone to seed with a Barry Melrose hair transplant, this has been an irritatingly milquetoast tournament.

Previous little verbal sparring. Much hat-tipping and platitudes and manufactured deference.

At last, a dose of verbal vitriol to counteract the Pablum.

About time, too.

Neither side needs a Berlitz course to understand the meaning.

With due respect to today's much-ballyhooed match between Brazil and the Netherlands, the quarter-final fixture with fire goes Saturday at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium. Both the Brazilians and Dutch have modified their attacking intentions, focusing more on the defensive side of the game than in recent memory.

Argentina and Germany, on the other hand, seem to know only one way to play -forward, full speed ahead. The longtime rivals cashed three and four goals against Mexico and England, respectively, in their opening knockout matches. Both seem greedy, gluttonous, for more.

Already, Maradona's side has tallied 10 total goals in this tournament, Joachim Low's has scored nine.

Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain is tied with Spain's David Villa for the Golden Boot lead at four snipes. Germany's Thomas Muller is only one off the pace, while Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Carlos Tevez each have scored twice.

That attacking mentality isn't reserved for style of play. Four years ago, remember, tempers flared on the pitch between players and staff of both countries following Germany's penalty-shootout quarter-final triumph. Obviously, a not-so-thin layer of ill will remains.

Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger, bless him, fired the opening volley this time, condemning Argentine theatrics and gamesmanship, zoning in on Tevez's blatantly given offside goal against the Mexicans.

"It starts before the match," Schweinsteiger said. "You see how they gesticulate, how they try to influence the referee. That's not part of the game. That's a lack of respect. They are like that. We should not be provoked by them.

"This behaviour shows their character and mentality. I hope the referee will pick up the feeling of who is provoking whom."

Responding to the dig, Maradona told Fox TV: "We don't have time to think of Schweinsteiger, the boys are thinking about getting on the field and playing a 2006 rematch. So it doesn't worry me what he says about penalties, kicks, that we don't know how to lose, it doesn't interest us. A different game is played every match and this is going to be different, because we are coming out to attack them and play in their faces. This is what has them nervous."

Then, the wonderfully outspoken coach stared into the camera and, in his best German accent, asked: "What's the matter Schweinnnnnnsteiger? Are you nervoushh?"

Tevez certainly thinks so.

"I was more afraid of Mexico than Germany," Tevez sniped in rebuttal. "Because the Mexicans play better football. They took the ball from us in the first minutes of the first half and at the start of the second. We would have suffered more if we hadn't struck at the right moments."

And over to you, Philipp Lahm.

"We have to focus on the task at hand, we know the Argentinians will be a tough game, we need to be cool and it remains to be seen how the South Americans deal with another defeat on Saturday," jabbed the vastly underrated defender. "We know the South Americans are on the temperamental side, they are hotheaded and they hate losing. We'll just see how they lose on the pitch and see how they react after that."

Another German prod to a sensitive Argentine area has come from Werder Bremen manager Klaus Allofs, who said that, in his opinion, Mesut Ozil has outshone even Lionel Messi four games in.

That must have gone over aces in Buenos Aires.

Nor have the Germans forgotten Maradona's perceived slight when he said he thought Muller was the ballboy. Only joking, claimed Diego.

Perhaps. But you can wager large they weren't hive-fivin' and thigh-slappin' at that comment at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich.

"(Germany)." said Maradona, "will be the team to give us the guarantee to overcome. We know Germany are a different team to Mexico."

Then, unable to control his competitive zeal: "They are stronger, but we will field the right players to beat them."

Beautiful. The bile is building.

Unless the world stops spinning on it axis, awaiting the conqueror of Cape Town is another attack-minded team, the Spanish. Whichever side that turns out to be, after this antagonistic encounter it will be well-primed for the occasion.

In a tournament that's been largely stale, Germany-Argentina provides some much-needed sizzle.

"I have a hunger for glory so great that I can't even imagine not winning the Cup," said Tevez. "It would be very sad.

"I could not bear to lose on Saturday."

Organizations: Hofbrauhaus

Geographic location: Germany, Mexico, Cape Town Argentina Brazil Netherlands Green Point Stadium England Spain Buenos Aires Munich

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments