Germany, Argentina Reach Last Eight Amid World Cup Controversy

Three-time champion Germany beat England 4-1 yesterday to reach a soccer World Cup quarterfinal against Argentina, a 3-1 winner against Mexico. Both games were overshadowed by controversial decisions from match officials.

Thomas Mueller scored twice in the second half in Bloemfontein, South Africa, for Germany, which had taken a two- goal lead in the first half through Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. Matthew Upson replied for England.

“It was a fantastic performance against a very experienced England team,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew, according to soccer governing body FIFA’s website. “We knew we could hit England on the counter-attack because they were open. Our players carried it off brilliantly. And I must compliment Thomas Mueller. He is always so cool in front of goal.”

Decisions in each game may fuel demands for the use of video technology to help match officials, a move that’s been resisted by FIFA.

England appeared to have tied the score at 2-2 after 38 minutes when Frank Lampard’s shot hit the bar and bounced behind the line but wasn’t given as a goal. Television replays showed the ball was clearly over the line.

In Johannesburg, Mexico’s players protested for an offside decision, having seen a stadium video replay of Carlos Tevez’s first goal for Argentina. Tevez later scored again, with Gonzalo Higuain also getting a goal. Javier Hernandez was the Mexican scorer.

Biggest Defeat

“We knew that if we imposed our attacking game, we’d get through,” Argentina coach Diego Maradona told reporters. “We were superior throughout the 90 minutes. I congratulate my players.”

Germany and Argentina, champion in 1978 and 1986, will now meet in the quarterfinals for a second successive World Cup. Germany won on penalties four years ago.

Mexico exited at the round of 16 for a fifth straight World Cup. England, a quarterfinalist at the last two tournaments, slipped to its biggest defeat at a major event.

Germany almost took the lead after only four minutes as Mesut Ozil broke through the England defense, but goalkeeper David James was able to deflect the ball for a corner.

After a tense opening period with few other chances, Klose got the opening goal -- his 50th for Germany and 12th at the World Cup. The Bayern Munich striker held off a challenge from Upson to collect a long ball before firing into the net.

Podolski Strike

Podolski scored with a low left-foot shot after 32 minutes as Germany’s carved open its opponent’s defense again, although England replied only five minutes later from an Upson header.

Less than a minute later, Lampard hit a 20-yard shot that hit the underside of the bar before bouncing down behind the line. The referee and his assistants adjudged that it hadn’t crossed.

England coach Fabio Capello said the Lampard “goal” that wasn’t given was a turning point.

“We played well but Germany are one of the biggest teams here,” he said. “We made some mistakes when they played the counter-attack. The little things always decide the results.”

Lampard hit the bar again with a free kick in the 52nd minute before Germany scored twice to secure the victory as England, trying to press forward, left its goal over-exposed.

Man of the match Mueller finished a breakaway move on 67 minutes, and did the same against three minutes later with a close-range finish.

Anything Possible

“Now anything is possible, even if there is a tough nut waiting for us in the next round,” Mueller said. “But that doesn’t matter, we just have to clear the way. I have left some space in my trophy cabinet at home.”

Klose said the team’s aim was to now reach at least the semifinals. Germany achieved that four years ago, while it was runnerup in 2002. The nation’s last World Cup title was in 1990.

In Johannesburg, Tevez headed in Argentina’s opener from close range in the 26th minute after Lionel Messi chipped the ball into his path. Mexican players protested that Tevez was offside, and surrounded the assistant referee, who hadn’t made the call.

Higuain, who now has four goals at this year’s tournament, doubled his team’s lead after 33 minutes when Mexico’s Ricardo Osorio passed the ball to him.

Players and officials from both teams clashed off the field at halftime as the atmosphere became heated.

Tevez Double

Man of the match Tevez fired in a powerful 25-yard strike in the 52nd minute for his second goal, seemingly ending any chances of a Mexico comeback. He was replaced by Juan Sebastian Veron with 20 minutes remaining.

Hernandez, who will play in the Premier League for Manchester United next season, gave Mexico hope with a goal after 71 minutes. The striker received the ball with his back to goal, then turned, took a touch and smacked it past goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Argentina’s Gabriel Heinze and Martin Demichelis both had to clear from in front of their own goal in the last 25 minutes as Mexico pushed forward.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at jcone@bloomberg.net.

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