Germany beat Argentina 4-0 to reach the semifinals at the World Cup for the third straight time and hand the two-time champion its worst loss at the tournament in 36 years.
Miroslav Klose scored two goals, and Thomas Mueller and Arne Friedrich had one each at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. Germany will play Spain or Paraguay, who meet today, in Durban, South Africa, on July 7.
“My team showed great resolve, great willingness to win,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said at a news conference. “In doing so, it wasn’t just high-level internationally, but a true champion’s performance.”
It’s the second straight World Cup the Germans have eliminated Argentina in the quarterfinals, following a penalty shootout win in 2006. The loss is Argentina’s worst at the World Cup since a 4-0 defeat against the Netherlands in 1974.
“This is really like a kick in the face,” Argentina coach Diego Maradona told reporters. “I have no more energy for anything.”
Klose’s two goals give him 14 for his career at the World Cup and tie former German striker Gerd Muller for second on the all-time list, one behind Brazil’s Ronaldo.
Germany went in front less than three minutes into the game as Mueller got in front of defender Nicolas Ottamendi to head in Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free kick.
FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi hit the German wall with a free kick late in the first half and the ball wound up in the net off the rebound, but the score was disallowed as four Argentina players were offside.
Germany took control by scoring twice in six minutes as a wide-open Klose put home a pass from Lukas Podolski in the 68th minute. Schweinsteiger then went past three defenders in the area before centering to Friedrich, who tapped the ball into the open goal.
Klose added his second goal in the 89th minute. He and Mueller each have four goals this year to tie Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain, the Netherlands’s Wesley Sneijder, Spain’s David Villa and Slovakia’s Robert Vittek atop the scoring list.
“Everything went superbly and to send Argentina packing 4- 0, well, what can you say,” Mueller, who will be suspended for the semifinal after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament, said in a televised interview. “We did it as a team and I can’t pick out any individuals. We all pulled together for this win.”