The quarterfinals wrap up today with a pair of games, one dripping with history and talented players, and one featuring Paraguay. We kid; it's not as if there's no reason to cheer for Paraguay or care about whether they win or lose. Larissa Riquelme, Paraguayan superfan and supermodel, has vowed to run naked through the streets if Paraguay wins the World Cup (and we can all work Google Image Search, so there's no need to post pics). So there's that. To get to that point, though, Paraguay will have to beat Spain (1:30pm CT, ABC) and doing that might require them to actually come out of their defensive shell once or twice... which may be asking a lot from our patriotically-colored friends from the "other" Guay. They've scored only three goals in the tournament thus far and none in the last 210 minutes they've played; they made it this far only by besting Japan in a penalty shootout in the previous round. Spain counters with a roster dripping with world-class talent, including arguably the world's best striker, David Villa, who has four goals all by himself in this tournament, tied for the most. One historic World Cup underachiever (Holland) advanced yesterday; can Spain make it two this afternoon? (Probably.)
The more enticing match-up is probably this morning's clash between Argentina, led by the irascible Diego Maradona, and Germany (9am CT, ABC). Between them the two nations have won five past World Cups and clashed on a number of occasions; most recently, they tangled in this exact same spot in the 2006 World Cup. Germany advanced on penalties (4-2) in that clash, a game in which Argentina's marvelous Lionel Messi never got off the bench. (Oops.) There's no love lost between these squads. Between them, they've played some of the most attractive attacking soccer of the tournament; both teams are loaded with an abundance of scoring options up front. Argentina can offer Messi, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain, Diego Milito, Maxi Rodriguez, and Angel Di Maria, while Germany counters with Miroslav Klose, Lucas Podolwski, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, and Thomas Muller. Both teams have been a bit shaky on defense (indeed, as of this writing Germany's already gone 1-0 up after some bad Argentine defending on a set piece). Hopefully the goals will flow in this one.
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