Germany end Diego's dream
Germany comprehensively beat Diego Maradona's Argentina 4-0 to book their place in the World Cup semi-finals.
By Steve Pass
Last Updated: 04/07/10 3:00pm
Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose were on target once more as Germany booked their World Cup semi-final place at the expense of Argentina.
Muller netted the last two goals in the 4-1 win over England last time but was quicker off the mark in Cape Town, heading home in the third minute as Joachim Low's side made a blistering start.
Klose, who had scored the opener against England, then tapped home a 67th minute second.
Arne Friedrich netted a third seven minutes later and Klose scored his second with a minute to go to make sure of the success over Diego Maradona's men.
The victory means Germany will now face Spain on Wednesday for a place in next Sunday's final.
It also dashed for now Maradona's dream of reaching a World Cup final as a coach after he lifted the trophy as a player at Germany's expense in 1986 and then was the losing captain to the same rivals four years later.
Both sides were unchanged for this clash, with Germany's attacking midfielders Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski both passed fit, while Argentinian talisman Lionel Messi brushed off a midweek cold to lead the attack alongside Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain.
The contest ended in controversy when the two sides met at the same stage of the last World Cup, with a mass brawl erupting after the Germans won on penalties.
The feistiness between the two sides continued here and was evidenced when Klose clattered Martin Demichelis from behind in the second minute.
Germany then got their early goal a minute later, going ahead when Muller got the slightest of headers onto Bastian Schweinsteiger's inswinging free-kick from the left.
Low's side continued to press and Schweinsteiger had a long-range shot blocked and he then blasted over.
Nicolas Otamendi picked up the first booking on 11 minutes for fouling Friedrich, while Javier Mascherano clattered Schweinsteiger three minutes later and was lucky to get away without a caution which would have caused him to miss the semi-finals.
Argentina came more into the game and won their first corner on 17 minutes but Per Mertesacker headed clear, while Messi then carved their first chance five minutes later, almost getting Tevez through on goal with an exquisite pass but Manuel Neuer was quickly off his line to gather.
Klose then missed a great chance to put his side two-up soon afterwards from Muller's pass but he blasted over from 12 yards.
Gabriel Heinze then shot wide on the half-hour mark, while Messi put a free-kick just over, Angel Di Maria shot at Neuer and Higuain turned Friedrich in the box before forcing the German keeper into a good save to his left as Maradona's side pressed for an equaliser.
Muller was then booked for handball meaning he will miss the semi-final, with Otamendi putting the ball in the net from the subsequent free-kick after Messi's effort had hit the wall but Tevez was rightly given offside in the build-up.
In the second period, Argentina started strongly with Di Maria blasting wide from long range before Mascherano again clattered Schweinsteiger as their bruising midfield battle continued.
Tevez's effort from 12 yards smacked Mertesacker in the face before Neuer fumbled Higuain's cross from the right but Philipp Lahm was there to clear.
Higuain was just offside running onto Messi's great pass while Tevez's long-range effort was straight at Neuer as Argentina continued to try and find a way back into the game.
But Klose got the crucial second goal for Low's side on 67 minutes when tapping home Podolski's pass.
Friedrich then scored his first ever goal for Germany - and put the game beyond doubt - when netting from close range seven minutes later after Schweinsteiger had made a fantastic run into the box.
Mascherano finally went into the referee's book for another crunching tackle late on but it was all academic as Klose added his second with a minute to go to send Maradona's side crashing out and the improving Germans marching on.