GERMANY midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has accused Argentina of a “lack of respect” ahead of the World Cup quarter-final between the two countries and says Joachim Low’s side must be wary of being “provoked” in Cape Town on Saturday.
Schweinsteiger believes Diego Maradona’s side are keen to influence match officials and highlighted an incident in Argentina’s 3-0 win over Mexico in the second round when both sets of players became involved in a shoving match at half-time.
That flashpoint erupted 20 minutes after Carlos Tevez had scored a highly contentious goal. The striker was yards offside when heading into an empty net and though replays at the stadium demonstrated the goal was illegal, referee Roberto Rosetti was unable to change his decision.
Schweinsteiger was a member of the Germany squad that beat Argentina on penalties in the quarter-final of the 2006 World Cup – a game that ended in controversial scenes as players and staff from both countries clashed – and he has instructed his team-mates not to react to any provocation in Cape Town.
“It starts before the match,” Schweinsteiger said. “You see how they gesticulate, how they try to influence the referee. That is not part of the game. That is a lack of respect. They are like that. We should not be provoked by them.
“This behaviour (in the game against Mexico) shows their character and mentality. I hope the referee will pick up the feeling of who is provoking whom. We saw that again in their match against Mexico.”
Germany approach the quarter-final tie in confident fashion having comprehensively beaten England 4-1 in the second round, but in Argentina they face a side that has won all four of their games under the inspirational figure of Maradona.
Gonzalo Higuain is joint top scorer with four goals and Lionel Messi is widely recognised as the best player on the planet, but coach Low says he has identified potential areas to exploit as he eyes a place in the semi-finals.
“They have a lot of experience, they have an impressive attack and not just through forward Lionel Messi alone, he said.
“We have found weaknesses in their side, but I will keep that information for my players.”
Attacker Cacau looks unlikely to recover from a thigh problem in time for the game in Cape Town.
Meanwhile midfielder Thomas Muller has claimed England have “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” to be a successful team.
“England have so many top stars in their squad that they will always be part and parcel of the international football scene,” reflected Muller.
“But there are so many ‘alpha males’. It is difficult to have so many ‘alpha males’ and have them row in the same direction.
“You don’t only need only chiefs, you also need a few Indians. You need people who are ready and willing to do the hard work.
“It may be a problem with England that players are simply not mentally prepared to go that extra mile for their team-mates.”
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