Germany outclass Argentina
Cape Town - Germany stormed into the World Cup semi-finals on Saturday with a 4-0 demolition of Diego Maradona's outclassed Argentina as Miroslav Klose edged towards becoming the tournament's greatest ever goal-scorer.
Germany now face either Spain or Paraguay, who meet later on Saturday, in Durban next Wednesday with a place in the final at Johannesburg's Soccer City on July 11 at stake.
It was the third time at these finals that rampant Germany had scored four goals in a match while Argentina superstar Lionel Messi once again failed to reach the heights expected of him.
A third-minute goal by Thomas Mueller gave Germany a 1-0 lead, before the three-time champions turned the screw after the interval.
Klose, winning his 100th cap, netted in the 68th minute, centre-back Arne Friedrich scored his first for his country six minutes later before Klose completed the rout with an 89th-minute volley which gave him a 14th World Cup goal, just one behind Ronaldo's record of 15.
German coach Joachim Loew got the better tactically of a bewildered Maradona as the men in black defended doggedly and attacked in numbers.
"We really turned in an incredible showing. Scoring four goals against Argentina you just have to say that that was class. And we closed down Messi very well - without resorting to fouls, so that was great," said Loew.
"We really stepped on the gas in the second half and played a liberated style of attacking football."
Loew added: "I have been proud of my team for a long time, not only today. We played some really great football in the second-half and the team has shown the will of champions.
"This result and the amount of goals we scored was almost unimaginable before the game."
World footballer of the year Messi was tightly marked by Mueller and Bastian Schweinsteiger as Argentina's star-studded side failed to shine.
The only blot on Germany's copybook was Mueller's first-half yellow card which sees him suspended for the semi-final.
"Everything went off superbly and to send Argentina packing 4-0, well, what can you say?," said Mueller.
"But we did it as a team and I can't pick out any individuals. We all pulled together for this and it's just great."
Argentina striker Carlos Tevez said defeat was a huge disappointment.
"It's a huge pain. We knew it would be complicated and that they wouldn't let us attack," said Tevez.
"We didn't score. There's nothing we can say about their victory."
Klose was lucky not to receive a yellow card in the opening minute, when he fouled Argentina captain Javier Mascherano, but the Germans were soon in front.
They took the lead after just three minutes when Mueller headed home a Schweinsteiger free-kick for his fourth goal of the tournament, the ball deflecting in off goalkeeper Sergio Romero's leg.
Argentina right-back Nicolas Otamendi earned the first yellow card of the game on 11 minutes for a foul on Friedrich.
The South Americans' first sight of goal came when Messi slid a pass through the German defence to Tevez, but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer raced from his line to deal with the threat.
Mueller's bright start then suffered a setback when he picked up his yellow card for handling the ball on 35 minutes.
Argentina had an encouraging start to the second-half as Real Madrid new boy Angel Di Maria fired a long-range shot which had Neuer at full-stretch on 48 minutes and Per Mertesacker blocked a shot from Tevez on 54 minutes.
But Germany extended their lead when Podolski found space on the left flank and passed back inside for Klose to score on 68 minutes.
Schweinsteiger helped make sure of Germany's place in the last four when he darted through the Argentinian defence to give Friedrich a simple tap in on 74 minutes to claim his first international goal on his 77th appearance.
Argentina's defence crumbled as Klose completed the demolition with his 52nd goal for Germany as he volleyed home a cross from Mesut Ozil just before the final whistle.