City trio on the edge of immortality
- 11 July 2014 13:58
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Question: What do Jesus Navas, David Silva and Patrick Vieira all have in common?
If you said they are all World Cup winners currently employed by City, you’d be correct - and now a trio of Argentines can join this illustrious list.
Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta are 90 minutes away from immortality after the Albiceleste overcame the Netherlands on penalties in Wednesday night’s FIFA World Cup semi-final.
Second half substitute Kun was one of those to demonstrate ice cold blood in his veins when he stepped up to convert the third penalty in the shootout, while Demichelis was a rock in the centre of defence, nullifying the threat of one of the tournament’s star players, Arjen Robben.
Zabaleta was his usual wholehearted self, patrolling the right flank from full-back, receiving a bloodied mouth in a clash with Dirk Kuyt and demonstrating his trademark “Corazon de León” to carry on and complete the 120 minutes.
It was unbearably tense, it wasn’t all that pretty at times but Argentina kept their dream of winning a third World Cup alive - and on Brazilian soil just to make it all the sweeter.
If they pull it off at the Maracanã, they will become the first three players to ever win a World Cup as City players.
David Silva had agreed to join City 11 days before Spain beat the Netherlands in the final four years ago but didn’t officially join the club until three days after the match in Johannesburg.
However, Germany are sure to provide formidable opposition after their devastating 7-1 win over Fernandinho’s Brazil in the other semi-final played 24 hours earlier.
After that display, Joachim Löw’s side must surely be considered as favourites for a match which is a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals.
"Both sides have a final win a-piece over one another in this, the most important match in world football, but will the game being played on Argentina’s home continent give them a decisive advantage?"
...World Cup final preview...
No European team has ever won a tournament on South American soil and the Albiceleste have won nine of 15 matches against the three-time winners, although Germany did knock them out in South Africa at the quarter-final stage four years ago.
Alejandro Sabella is sweating on the fitness of Angel di Maria ahead of the clash.
The Real Madrid winger is back in light training with team doctors monitoring his progress, while Aguero has recovered from his thigh strain to be in contention for a start.
How they got here
Germany: Group stage (Portugal, 4-0, Ghana, 2-2, USA, 1-0); Round of 16: Algeria, 2-1 AET, Quarter-final: France, 1-0; Semi-final: Brazil, 7-1.
Argentina: Group stage: Bosnia, 2-1, Iran, 1-0, 3-2); Round of 16: Switzerland, 1-0; Quarter-final: Belgium, 1-0; Semi-final: Netherlands, 0-0 (4-2 on penalties).
Race for the Golden Boot
Germany: Thomas Muller (5)
Argentina: Lionel Messi (4)
Saves and concessions
Manuel Neuer (23 saves, 4 conceded)
Sergio Romero (16 saves, 3 conceded)
Lionel Messi (16, 50% on target)
Thomas Muller (14, 57% on target)
Javier Mascherano (509, 90% accuracy)
Toni Kroos (498, 91% accuracy)
Javier Mascherano (28, 79% accuracy)
Bernard Howedes (15, 87% accuracy)
A day before the World Cup draws to a close with its showpiece final, Brazil take on the Netherlands in the third/fourth place play-off in Brasilia.
Fernandinho’s side will have to pick themselves off the floor in order to sign off on their tournament with a win after that humiliating defeat in Belo Horizonte.