Cape Town: Germany had an easier than expected 4-0 win over Argentina on Saturday, reaching the World Cup semifinals and sending both Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona home.
Miroslav Klose scored two of the goals, taking his World Cup tally to 14 in three tournaments. The 14 goals equals the German record, held by Gerd Mueller. Brazil striker Ronaldo has the overall World Cup record with 15 goals.
Thomas Mueller gave Germany the lead with a third-minute header, and Klose celebrated his 100th international appearance with a simple tap-in in the 68th minute as Germany outplayed the Argentine defence.
Arne Friedrich raced all the way up from defence to strike home the third goal in the 74th, and Klose scored his second in the 89th.
With the three-time champion Germans dominating every sector of the field, Argentina paled in comparison and Messi left the tournament without a single goal, while Maradona failed to get his nation back into the World Cup final.
“To lose like that is very painful,” Argentina striker Carlos Tevez said. “We played badly and sometimes when you make mistakes you go home.
“They did what we knew they were capable of doing.”
In the stands, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was clapping and celebrating while down below, Maradona clasped his hands before his face in frustration.
With all the pre-game hype and bad blood dominating the headlines, the game started as explosively as could be expected. Bastian Schweinsteiger curled in a tight free kick from the left in the third minute and Mueller glanced it toward the feet of an out-of-position goalkeeper Sergio Romero and into the net.
When Argentina started threatening in the second half, Germany’s teamwork paid off again on a break in the 68th when Lukas Podolski found Klose totally unmarked in the goalmouth and the Bayern Munich veteran celebrated with probably the simplest goal of his Germany career.
The Argentines soon collapsed, and Friedrich finished off the sort of teamwork that has turned the young German team into a favorite for the title.
With his second goal, Klose proved how lethal he still is at 32. And nimble, too, celebrating his goal with a somersault.