Germany beats Argentina to reach World Cup semifinals

Germany beats Argentina to reach World Cup semifinals
# 03 July 2010 20:43 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Ironclad defense helps Germany not only prevail 4-0 in a wide-open game that was full of attacking play by both teams, but remain on course to win a fourth title since its last victory 20 years ago, APA reports quoting Los Angeles Times.
Irresistible force met immovable object in the World Cup quarterfinals in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.

Immovable object won.Goals by Thomas Mueller, Miroslav Klose, who scored twice, and Arne Friedrich put paid to the South Americans’ dreams of a third World Cup triumph. Germany, meanwhile, remains on course for a fourth title and its first in 20 years.

Germany’s most recent World Cup was won in 1990, when Argentina was beaten in Rome. The Germans also knocked the Argentines out of the 2006 tournament in the quarterfinals in Berlin.

For Argentina it was simply an afternoon when little went right, especially on defense. The loss meant that Coach Diego Maradona’s hopes of becoming only the third person to win a World Cup as a player and as a coach have to be put on hold, perhaps indefinitely.

Ironclad defense that shut down the likes of Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain was the secret for the Germans. That and the team’s calmness under pressure.

Coach Joachim Low’s players stroked the ball around on defense, almost never panicking and confident in their ability to play their way out of trouble.

By the time the final whistle blew, they had earned a thorough and well-deserved victory.

It was a wide-open game, full of attacking play by both teams and a worthy reflection of their status as former world champions. The Green Point Stadium crowd of 64,100 left knowing they had received their money’s worth.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel barely had a chance to settle into her luxury suite seat before her Mannschaft had taken the lead.

Forward Lukas Podolski was chopped down by Argentina defender Nicolas Otamendi out near the left touchline. Bastian Schweinsteiger floated the resulting free kick into the Argentine penalty area, and Thomas Mueller snuck in to send a glancing header into the back of the net.

Goalkeeper Sergio Romero was crouched and rooted to his line as Mueller rose into the air in front of Otamendi to redirect the ball.

The goal, Mueller’s fourth of the tournament, marked the first time in five matches at South Africa 2010 that Maradona’s high-octane side had fallen behind.

Otamendi, playing somewhat out of control, was given a yellow card by referee Ravshan Irmatov of Uzbekistan for a kick on Germany’s Friedrich in the 11th minute.

Germany continued to apply most of the offensive pressure, but Argentina looked dangerous on the counterattack as Messi continued to feed passes to Tevez.

Low’s German side came within inches of doubling its lead and putting a stranglehold on the match when Klose found himself with the ball at his feet and the goal directly in front of him.

But, much to his disgust, Klose sent his shot over the bar. It could have been his 13th World Cup goal, just two short of the World Cup record held by Brazil’s Ronaldo. That, however, had to wait until the second half.

The Argentines gradually worked themselves back into the game, and it took some alert work by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to deny first Tevez, then Angel Di Maria and then Higuain.

Referee Irmatov ruined Mueller’s day when he ruled that the German forward had handled the ball. It looked a harsh call, but the referee was directly in front of the player and Messi’s appeal for a handball did not help Mueller’s cause. Mueller will miss the semifinals while serving a one-game suspension.

The infringement brought Argentina a potentially dangerous free kick about 20 yards from goal. Messi’s effort was blocked by the wall, however, and although Argentina found the net off the rebound, the goal was disallowed because several players were clearly offside.

At the other end, Podolski sent a shot screaming just wide of the Argentine right post, much to the relief of goalkeeper Romero.

With halftime approaching, Philipp Lahm set off on a run down the right touchline, the ball eventually reaching Mesut Oezil, but his effort, like Klose’s earlier one, went over the bar.

Mueller then had a shot deflected wide by defender Nicolas Burdisso but the resulting corner kick came to nothing. Argentina was living dangerously but hanging on.

The second half saw Germany take complete control. Two goals by Klose and another by Friedrich after a marvelous dribbling run through the Argentine defense by Schweinsteiger silenced the Argentine fans.

Klose got his first goal in the 68th minute and his second in the 90th minute. The forward did a somersault after his second strike, his happiness not at all echoed by a sour-faced Maradona as the final whistle sounded.