MARC ILES' WORLD CUP SIDESHOW: Well-matched final four need to up their game

Netherlands keeper Tim Krul is congratulated by coach Louis Van Gaal after his penalty shootout heroics on Saturday

Netherlands keeper Tim Krul is congratulated by coach Louis Van Gaal after his penalty shootout heroics on Saturday

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

THERE is nothing between the four teams left in this World Cup but I find myself supporting the Germans by default.

Try as I might, I just cannot force myself to like Brazil.

Neymar aside they have been fairly ordinary this tournament, which is an odd thing to admit about a side one game away from the final.

Brazil sides of the past have had swagger, real superstars. Where is the Careca, Socrates, Zico or Ronaldinho? This is pretty much just a team of Dungas.

Big Phil Scolari has been far too presumptuous in his press conferences, saying things like “we’ve got one hand on the trophy.” Rubbish.

Much better Brazilian sides have failed to win this competition but the home field advantage is one you can’t waste – just as Jurgen Klinsmann, who spurned his big chance back in 2006.

To make matters worse Brazil have knocked out two of the most attractive sides at the World Cup in Chile and Colombia. Now those two were a joy to watch.

Argentina are still completely reliant on the little maestro Lionel Messi, who only seems to need to play well for five minutes each game to change it for the better.

They were ordinary against Belgium. But that is all they had to be.

For all the fuss made of Belgium’s young stars they never once looked like a proper team – and the relative ease with which Argentina cantered past them in the quarter finals was very disappointing.

The Netherlands should be my team. They normally sum up everything right about football but for some reason I just can’t get on board with them in this tournament.

Louis Van Gaal might be a genius – we’ll soon see in the Premier League – but at least he doesn’t like to go on about it.

If they dished out a medal for the competition’s biggest ego, the Dutchman would already have it around his neck.

And I didn’t care for Tim Krul’s off-putting antics in the penalty shootout against Costa Rica. I’m all for gaining a psychological advantage but he crossed the line between gamesmanship and straight-out intimidation when he jumped about in front of Bryan Ruiz and Co.

All the other teams that I did have emotional or financial attachment to have now bowed out, so that leaves me with Germany.

They have been decent enough, even though the quarter-final against France was desperately dull.

I’ll be watching the remaining games over in Denmark with Wanderers, so knowing the rivalry between the two countries I might leave my replica top at home.

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