Germany stormed into the World Cup semifinals on Saturday with a 4-0 drubbing of Argentina in Cape Town. Miroslav Klose scored twice, along with goals from Thomas Mueller and defender Arne Friedrich.
Mueller opened the scoring for Germany in the third minute
Germany have scored four goals for the third time in the World Cup, this time dispatching Argentina with shocking ease in the quarterfinal.
"Now we're among the best four teams in the world, and that's exactly where this team belongs," coach Joachim Loew said after the game. "Our destiny is in our own hands now, we can achieve something really great here."
Coach Joachim Loew, center, had every reason to cheer as his side banged in four goals - again
The Germans got off to a flying start, scoring the quickest goal of the World Cup this year against a shocked Argentina backline, with Thomas Mueller heading home a free-kick in just the third minute.
The 20-year-old Mueller, who was a two-goal hero against England in the previous round, has now scored four in the competition from his position on the right flank.
"It's insane, after thrashing Argentina 4-0, I'm almost lost for words," Mueller told reporters after the match. "The star today, once again, was the team as a whole."
Mueller, however, will play no part in the semifinal. The Bayern Munich man picked up his second yellow card of the competition from a handball call that was more than a bit questionable by the referee, meaning he will serve a one-match ban.
"I hope that my teammates get everything right in the semifnal, then I can come back and score another goal in the final," the upbeat youngster concluded.
Scorer turns provider
Despite this setback, Mueller remained a key man going forward for Joachim Loew's men, and displayed fantastic determination and awareness in the build up for Germany's second goal.
Even after losing his footing, a seated Mueller played a great through-ball for Lukas Podolski on the left wing, who delivered the perfect cross to Miroslav Klose in front of goal. After Argentine goalie Sergio Romero dived for the cross and missed, Klose simply had to tap the ball into an open net.
Moments later Arne Friedrich - pushing forward from the center of defense - put the finishing touches on a great cross from Bastian Schweinsteiger to make it 3-0 Germany with just a quarter of an hour to play.
Closing in on the record
Miroslav Klose, left, only needs two more goals to become the World Cup's deadliest ever striker
In the dying minutes, with Argentina clearly broken, Germany made it four, again through Miroslav Klose. The veteran's 100th game for his country could hardly have been scripted better.
With his second-half brace, the frontman grabbed his 13th and 14th career World Cup goals, meaning he is now level with legendary striker Gerd Mueller as the most prolific German in World Cup history. He only needs one more to tie the overall record of 15 goals, held by the Brazilian goal-machine Ronaldo.
Holding midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has excelled while filling the boots of injured German captain Michael Ballack during the competition, was awarded man of the match for his performance.
Michael who? Schweinsteiger has replaced Ballack in style
Schweinsteiger set up Germany's first and third goals, but his most crucial contribution was controlling the game in the middle of the park from start to finish.
"We may have to play Spain next," the man of the match cautioned after the victory. "They're the best team in the world, in my view. But we're good enough, we believe in ourselves."
Germany will now face either European Champions Spain or Paraguay, who play on Saturday evening, in the semifinals.
Author: Mark Hallam
Editor: Matt Hermann