Well, that was a different semifinal.
After Tuesday’s wild Germany-Brazil match, hardcore soccer fans and casual fans who set social media on fire the day prior were treated to the other extreme of the sport Wednesday.
With a date with Germany, which had the biggest offensive explosion of the tournament against Brazil, and a spot in the World Cup finals on the line, Argentina and the Netherlands played one of the tightest, most-defensive games of the tournament.
To put the World Cup’s two semifinal matches into perspective, Germany had five goals in the first 29 minutes, while the Dutch and the Argentines combined for five total shots on goal in a scoreless match of more than 120 minutes.
The two wildly contrasting semifinal matches beg the question, what is best for soccer when it comes to broadening its appeal to wider audiences?
Clearly, it’s more scoring.
To say that the Germany-Brazil match “set social media on fire” may be an understatement. According to @TwitterData, the Germany’s blitzkrieg of goals led to the Germany-Brazil game to become the most tweeted-about event in the social media website’s history with 35.6 million tweets during the match.
If a 7-1 thrashing can get that kind of reaction, just think what kind of electricity a 5-4 back-and-forth thriller would generate. Well, as far as this World Cup goes, we’ll probably never know.
The majority of this Cup’s matches, especially those in the knockout rounds, were much closer to Wednesday’s semifinal match than Tuesday’s, with long stretches of stalemates before a 1-0 or 2-1 type results.
Although, personally, I will love the sport no matter what, soccer could be well served with some minor rule tweaks to open the game up for more offense, whether it’s introducing ways for more lenience on offside calls or speeding up the game with harsher limits on various stalling tactics.
Those social media numbers do not lie.
Ultimately Wednesday, after my favorite sudden-death scenario in all of sports, fans will get Sunday one of (if not the) most intriguing final matchup that we could have hoped for in the 2014 World Cup.
It’s the best team in the world, Germany, against the team with the best player in the world, Argentina and Lionel Messi. In any sport, you can’t ask for much better than that. It’s the same type of matchup that made this year’s NBA Finals so intriguing. Let’s just hope it’s much more competitive than the Spurs-Heat series.