Then, Germany vs. Argentina. A well-matched set of opponents stuck in a game with inadequate chemistry between the two teams. Barring a few minutes of fast movement and both Ayala and Ballack's goals, this was a disappointing match. Germany can play better. I've seen them play better in the last World Cup. Whether it's by virtue of the morale boost from being host nation this time, or having just enough skill to hold on, I've yet to actually see a game I felt they deserved to win to any large degree. They've fast become a team I wished would bow out honourably and soon. Argentina's only marginally better. They played a soft first game, went on to play another two devastatingly beautiful games, and then a final two games where they've just fizzed out. They could've played a much more offensive game, they could've brought on better players (and one wonders why they got rid of Riquelme and never brought on Messi), but they didn't. More than that, the game didn't have to last as long as it did if either one of the teams took on a more active role to cause damage, and they did both have the strategy to do that, if they'd gone for it (though Klinsmann does get credit for the better strategy out here -- and I do credit him for getting his team this far into the Cup). Penalty shoot-outs are an undignified way to decide games, at best. Tension was highest during the shoot-out and the closing moments though. Adding insult to injury, the actual shouting match between the two teams as they left the field was shameful.
In one of the cheapest camera moments ever, I thought Kahn approaching Lehmann before the penalty shoot-out was a bit of a rip. Lehmann proved his worth though. He is a skilled goalkeeper, with an amazing eye for the ball.