11-17 July 2014 #715

Schnitzel or Asado?

World cup finalists benefit from new recipe for success

Picking the World Cup winner is like picking your favourite cultural dish: Germany’s famous breaded Schnitzel or Argentina’s all day Asado BBQ? Whichever your fancy however, both teams have styled themselves with different flavours to great success.

During the group stages, many touted the 2014 World Cup as the best ever, but the knockout rounds were much more measured, save for one dramatic exception. Still there have been 167 goals scored in the tournament, four short of the modern record.

Germany , the historically stout defensive side, and Argentina, the flash attacking side of Maradona and now Lionel Messi, have switched roles, with delicious results. When Germany scored their second, third and fourth goals in a span of 176 seconds, approximately 176 million tvs were switched off before the remainder of the 7-1 humiliation.

Statistics are the spice of football, and rather tellingly, Germany cleared the ball 20 times throughout the match, while Brazil only cleared the ball four times. Clearly, every time Thomas Mueller and crew were in on goal, the ball didn’t come out.

It could be argued that Brazil’s futility determined the outcome of two games, with both the Netherlands and Argentina playing a textbook foil to the wide open thrashing Brazil suffered. Writer and Nigerian Super Eagles supporter Teju Cole tweeted that the second semifinal’s “Opening exchanges are cagier than a prison inside of a zoo”, and neither team escaped. Only three other matches had fewer completed crosses, this in 120 minutes no less.

And the semifinal featured the most total passes of any match in the tournament (1457) and passes completed (1146), further evidence of a pedestrian outing that both teams were determined not to win.

But you don’t need statistics to tell the story. First, anyone who watched either of the semifinal matches in the early hours of the morning was floored by the first and bored by the second—no statistics needed. Secondly, statistics on FIFA’s website labelled Brazil as the best attacking side with 100 attempts at goal, and labelled the best defending side also as Brazil.

Metrics aren’t the best way to describe a football match anyway. Football is about passion. It is a religion. And even when Argentina is playing Germany in the final, they feel like they are taking on Brazil in the Maracana Stadium for one big Asado.

Matt Miller

Lucky Number 11

11 penalties scored in the World Cup Finals

11 combined goals by stars Neymar, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez

11 goals by tournament’s top 2 scorers, James Rodriguez and Thomas Mueller

11 goals scored by Brazil

11 goals allowed by Brazil, the most by any team this World Cup

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