Relentless Germany humble Argentina

Argentina 0 Germany 4

Argentina 0 Germany 4

Germany brushed aside Argentina with a brilliant quarter-final performance in Cape Town today.

Argentina were buried thanks to a third-minute goal from Thomas Muller and two second-half efforts from Miroslav Klose either side of one from Arne Friedrich.

When Nicolas Otamendi brought Lukas Podolski down by the touchline, the start of what turned out to be a tortuous opening period for the young full-back, Bastian Schweinsteiger curled the free-kick to the near post.

Muller escaped Otamendi's attentions and rose unchallenged.

The youngster should have sent a firm header into the corner. Instead, he got the faintest touch which deceived Sergio Romero, who must have thought he was going to be beaten anyway.

It shot off the Argentina keeper's leg and rolled into the net.

For a good 15 minutes, those famous blue and white shirts were seen twisting and turning in all directions as they tried to keep their opponents at bay.

Klose wasted a golden opportunity to double the advantage when Muller capitalised on Gabriel Heinze's error and squared for the veteran frontman.

On his 100th appearance, it should have been his 51st goal. But he rushed the opportunity and side-footed over.

Too young to be considered for Germany's triumphant U-21 squad at last summer's European Championships, what a year Muller has had.

A harsh booking for handball means the youngster will miss Wednesday's semi-final in Durban, however.

After being hurt so badly so quickly, Argentina at least managed to clear their heads and began to respond.

Germany's defence was rock solid however, their movement choreographed superbly.

Lionel Messi tried to sparkle but he was forced further back to gain meaningful possession, and then surrounded instantly to ensure there was no escape.

Another star name destined to leave South Africa without making a significant mark, or scoring a goal, Messi did his best with the scraps that were offered without making the mesmerising burst or defence-splitting pass his team craved.

On the touchline, Argentina manager Diego Maradona stood, knowing the difference between a great player and the absolute best is their ability to produce when the pressure is at its greatest, as he did in 1986.

Since then, Germany have gained revenge, both in the 1990 final and the quarter-final four years ago.

German skipper Philipp Lahm said he wanted to win today, inside 90 minutes, for his country to finally defeat a big team.

First, a prone Muller stabbed the ball into space and set Podolski free to present Klose with a tap-in.

Then, pushing forward even though the game was won, Friedrich was on hand to finish from close range after Schweinsteiger had cut through the Argentine defence like a knife through butter.

Klose finished the rout with a goal in the closing stages.

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