Now how predictable was that! All the paeans to Maradona for his non-existent coaching skills (see Rob Hughes’s open letter in the NYT today) have proved to be, well, embarrassing. With no tactical flexibility, let alone a Plan B, the Argentines in the second half kept pushing through the German middle and running, time after time, into Schweinsteiger and Khedira. Everyone—and I mean everyone—except Maradona could have foreseen Germany playing with two holding midfielders who would constrict the space for Messi, thereby completely undoing Argentina's obsolescent diamond-shaped midfield. And the Argentine defense was playing with all the mental presence of a decapitated fly. Good as the Germans are (and they are getting better with every game), Maradona had no idea what was happening to him nor what to do to stop it. The way Schweinsteiger danced all over the Argentine box (mainly around forwards) was symptomatic of their performance—wooden legs all around. Maradona's paralysis toward the end of the game, the face of a man unable to think of a solution, his jaw clenched, self-handcuffed with a rosary, was downright pathetic. Who is he going to blame for this catastrophe? Journalists? Jesus? Himself? Somehow, I don't think he'll blame himself. So it’s between journalists and Jesus. I would blame Jesus.
Aleksander Hemon is the author, most recently, of The Book of My Lives and The Matters of Life, Death, and More: Writing on Soccer.