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Germany crush Argentina 4-0 on way to semifinals
CAPE TOWN, JUL 3 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 4 Jul. 2010 12:06 AM IST
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Germany took yet another giant step toward the World Cup final by recording an emphatic 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Argentina Saturday afternoon.
Klose struck twice in the second half and Thomas Mueller and Arne Friedrich propelled the Germans into Wednesday’s semifinal in Durban. They will meet the winner of the Spain-Paraguay encounter, which will be decided later Saturday.
After drubbing England in the second round, 4-1, and Saturday’s incredible result, there is no doubting that the Germans are favorites to win their fourth World Cup crown in Johannesburg on July 11.
Despite losing captain and midfielder Michael Ballack to a knee injury just prior to the tournament, using a starting lineup that averages around 25 years of age and deploying a relatively inexperienced international goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer, three-time champion Germany continued to roll.
There was a marked contrast as both teams walked off the Green Point Stadium field. The ecstatic and smiling Germans celebrated, applauding their supporters while the Argentine players wept openly. Argentine coach Diego Maradona walked off silently, stunned by the result and margin of loss.
It turned into a bittersweet match for Mueller as he set up the second goal. However, he will miss the semifinal due to his second yellow card that he picked up in the 36th minute.
Only three minutes into the match the Germans grabbed the lead on Mueller’s fourth goal of the tournament before a crowd of 64,100.
After Nicolas Otamendi fouled Lukas Podolski some 22 yards out on the right side, Bastain Schweinsteiger sent a free kick into the penalty area that Mueller managed to get a glancing header on just in front of Otamendi and beat goalkeeper Sergio Romero from five yards. It was the first time the Argentines trailed in the tournament.
While the Argentines tried to find holes in the German backline, the Europeans patiently waited for more chances and defensive breakdowns by the South Americans.
Klose doubled the score in the 68th minute when Mueller sent a pass to Podolski on the left side, creating a two-on-one situation. Podolski found Klose on the right side of the area and the veteran striker had an easy tap-in as Romero was out of the net.
Only six minutes later, the Germans struck again as Friedrich tallied his first goal of the tournament. Bastian Schweinsteiger worked his way through the defense on the left side of the area and slotted the ball to Friedrich, who slipped the ball into the net for a commanding 3-0 advantage.
Klose added his second goal of the match and fourth of the tournament, connecting in the 89th minute.
The game marked a bitter ending to an underachieving Lionel Messi, regarded by many as the best player in the world. Messi did not score in five games. He looked out of sorts Saturday after missing Friday’s practice with a slight fever. He could never catch fire in the right way.

 
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