Maradona reflects on 'toughest day'

Diego Maradona described Argentina's humiliation at the hands of Germany as the toughest day of his life.

Striker Miroslav Klose scored twice and Thomas Muller and Arne Friedrich got one each as Germany went through to the World Cup semi-finals with a 4-0 victory at the Green Point Stadium.

It was Argentina's worst World Cup defeat since they lost to Holland, also 4-0, in 1974.

It left Lionel Messi, the world's best player, sobbing in the dressing room and Maradona hinting it could be the end of his colourful reign as Argentina coach.

"I may leave tomorrow," was his initial reaction before tempering it with a more considered response.

"We will see what happens," he continued. "I haven't thought about leaving. I have to check that with my family and the players and there are things I have to consider. But as coach and player the type of football people like is this one. Touch the ball, rotate, run, Argentina can't play a different style."

It was no match for a German team who had destroyed England 4-1 in the last 16 and who now have every chance of making it through to next Sunday's final in Soccer City, Johannesburg.

Not surprisingly German coach Joachim Low was delighted with another exciting and mature performance from the youngest German World Cup side in 76 years.

Low said: "My team showed great resolve, a great willingness to win and in doing so it was a true champion's performance. There was a lot of ambition in the team to win this game and enormous speed. It was really impressive."

Low singled out 32-year-old striker Klose, whose two goals on his 100th cap took him level on 14 World Cup goals with German legend Gerd Muller.

Low said: "I'm thrilled for Klose. He is truly impressive, such a wonderful and successful player. He has scored more than one in every second match. Klose has been outstanding in 2002, 2006 and 2010, he has always put on a top quality performance.

"Very few players could hold a candle to him. This is truly a feat to stay in the history books."

One sour note for Germany was the booking picked up by 20-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder Muller for a hand ball which puts him out of the semi-final against either Spain or Paraguay.

Low said: "The fact we won't have him is a serious blow. He showed how dangerous he is. The ball touched his thigh and his arm in one small moment. I question this yellow card."

The German coach insists it is now crucial his players did not lose their focus.

"What's important is to keep our feet on the ground and get our emotions under control," Low said. "My team has been excellent and we have celebrated in the dressing room but we are remaining realistic. We are among the top four teams in the world but it's far from over. We have a great opportunity to make it to the final. We must concentrate and look forward to the next game."

For Maradona there was the prospect of returning to soccer-mad Argentina having let down an expectant public.

He said: "I am totally disappointed. We will go back and that is difficult after losing but we will sit down and figure out what happened.

"I don't think anybody can be happy with the result. We live and breathe football and no-one will be glad we lost 4-0.

"The day I stopped playing football could have been similar to this. The sadness is really strong, it is tough. We had a wish to go beyond today and be among the four best teams in the world. We had this dream and the opposite happened.

"I lived through this in 1982 as a player. I was a boy and didn't realise. Today, I am 50 in October and mature and it is the toughest day of my life. This is like a kick in the face. I have no more energy for anything."

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