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Loew: 'magic' Maradona

2010-07-02 15:00

Cape Town - Argentina's Diego Maradona has been the target of criticism at the World Cup, but German coach Joachim Loew had nothing but praise for his flamboyant opposite number on Friday.

Maradona has been at loggerheads with Brazil's three-time World Cup winner Pele, who most recently on Thursday said the Argentine's previously troubled private life would affect his squad.

But Loew, whose team faces Argentina in the World Cup quarter-finals here on Saturday, had only fond memories of the former midfield maestro and said he was looking forward to crossing swords with him in Cape Town.

Asked where he was during the 1986 World Cup final when Argentina beat Germany, and in 1990 when Germany got their revenge, Loew said: "Off the cuff, I don't remember exactly where I saw them.

"But in 1990 I was in Switzerland and watched with some friends. Back then of course we had the extraordinary Maradona playing.

"He galvanised the whole football world with the way he played. He was simply magic.

"Germany and Argentina of course is a big deal, an historical encounter. 1986 and 1990 were the culmination of Maradona's career and he left a mark on football like no other player has ever done before or since."

Looking ahead to Saturday's showdown, Loew said it was not in Maradona's mentality to be careful and he expected Argentina to go for goals.

"I don't think Maradona will be more careful against us, it's not his mentality," he said.

"As a player he was always an attacking player and I'm sure as a coach he will want to leave his mark on attacking play as well," he said.

"They will definitely be extremely dangerous. I'm sure they will try and get a goal very soon. I don't think they'll come onto the pitch with any extra fear or respect."

The winners of the match will play either European champions Spain or South American outsiders Paraguay in the semi-finals.

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