Be afraid…

With two days still to go before Argentina take on Germany in perhaps the most evenly-matches quarter-final of the South Africa 2010 World Cup, there’s not a lot interesting to report – Diego Maradona won’t be changing the formation, though one or two players might come in or be dropped. You can read about those here, as well as the psychic octopus named Paul, who reckons Joachim Löw’s side will be victorious…

With good reason, Diego Maradona’s been pleased with his side’s performances so far in the World Cup, but there have been voices suggesting a different system will be needed against Germany, who will be the strongest opponents Argentina have faced thus far in the competition. The idea of a doble cinco – two holding midfielders – has been floated, with Mario Bolatti suggested as the man to bolster the middle alongside Javier Mascherano. Maradona, though, has confirmed he’ll stick with his so-far winning tactics.

Nicolás Otamendi’s emergence as a more comfortable right back than Jonás Gutiérrez at least eases the biggest worry over the defence, which will surely be tested far more frequently by a quick German side than it has been so far. Martín Demichelis’ on-off form (on and off in the same match, that is) is more of a cause for concern though, and to that end he might be the centre back to make way for Walter Samuel if ‘The Wall’ is passed fit to play. Maradona has expressed support for Demichelis, but of course as the pressure increases he could be playing his cards close to his chest still.

The same can be said for Ángel Di María, whose transfer to Real Madrid went through a couple of days ago. Maradona insists he could ‘explode at any moment,’ but he’s been disappointing so far and the possibility of Seba Verón or Javier Pastore being given a go in his place would seem very real. Of the two I’d think Pastore is the better bet, offering more pace and operating closer to the forwards than Verón would do.

Any changes look useless, though, to be honest. That’s because an English-born, German-raised octopus has already predicted that Germany will be the victors on Saturday and advance to the semi-finals. Paul, who lives at Sea Life in Oberhausen, has successfully predicted all of Germany’s results so far in the World Cup – victories over Ghana, Australia and England, and a loss to Serbia – by medium of two boxes of food with the competing nations’ flags on. After much wavering – he took over an hour to decide, compared with mere seconds prior to the England vs Germany match – he announced the victory for Germany.

Now, you might think that’s silly, but get this: at Euro 2008, Paul’s success rate was 80%! Be afraid, Maradona & co. Be very afraid.

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6 thoughts on “Be afraid…

  1. “Now, you might think that’s silly, but get this: at Euro 2008, Paul’s success rate was 80%! Be afraid, Maradona & co. Be very afraid.”

    So, in essence, Paul the magical predicting octopus got four out of five right at Euro 2008, right? And seeing as he’s got four right already in World Cup 2010, it seems like Germany are destined to lose this Quarter-Final tie against Argentina, to keep his success-rate at 80%. It’s destiny!

  2. I would love Pastore to play, I think he’s got more chance of exploding at any moment than Di Maria. But DM probably will play fairly defensive, so it will probably be Veron. And Veron will probably play in the position he’s told to, as opposed to Gerard, and not leave Heinze constantly exposed.

    The ‘doble cinco’ has been a big feature of the World Cup, and Brazil and Holland will no doubt fight each other to a standstill tomorrow, both playing this way. I’m still expecting an Argentina-Brazil final, despite Paul the Octopus, but Argentina would be very brave to still try and play tiki-tiki against those scary Brazilians. I don’t want to see yet another game with Brazil picking Argentina off on the counter-attack. It’s all pretty depressing tbh, it’s difficult to see anyone stopping Dunga and his boring ‘rugby team’, as I’ve seen it described on internet forums, but it’s true, put black shirts on some of them and make them do the Haka, and you wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

    Oh yeah, and has no-one thought re Paul the Octopus, he might remember the black red and yellow colours and think ‘ah yes, I like the food whenever I go in that box’ and keep going for it? Can octopi make out colours? Mind you, it might say something that it took him seconds to decide between Germany and England. Most of us had the same thought process, apart from BBC pundits, who presumably said it was 50-50 so that people would watch.

      1. Ah well, my theory is that they put horrible food in the opposition box each time, and really nice food in the German one, so he only chooses the opposition once. ;-)

  3. Here you go, been searching for Paul the Octopus into, and found that Sayco The Dolphin says Argentina will win.

    Who’s right – the dolphin or the octopus?
    AFP – July 2, 2010 – 4:19AM

    It takes a brave creature to disagree with Paul, Germany’s soothsaying octopus, who has an impeccable track record on World Cup predictions to date.

    But step (or swim) forward Sayco, the dolphin from the Argentine port city of Mar del Plata.

    Sayco’s keepers at the city aquarium decided on Thursday to see if the friendly creature preferred to play with a ball in German red-black-gold or Argentine sky blue and white.

    Leaping four metres out of the water, Sayco unhesitatingly went for the Argentine ball placed on a platform above his pool.

    Locals immediately saw a positive omen, with Argentina set to face Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals in Cape Town on Sunday.

    1. Ah, but see, the dolphin’s Argentine. Whereas Paul’s English, and still picked Germany to beat us. So he’s neutral (or at least, more neutral than Sayco) on this.

      Also, Sayco? Say that with an Argentine accent… sounds to me like they’ve named their dolphin after Stuart Pearce!

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