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Germany win on penalties

German forward Miroslav Klose celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinal at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Friday. Germany won 4-2 on penalties
German forward Miroslav Klose celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinal at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Friday. Germany won 4-2 on penalties. — AFP photo

Berlin, June 30
Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was the toast of Germany as the hosts progressed into the semifinals of the World Cup with a sensational 4-2 penalty shootout win over Argentina here today.

With the game unsettled at 1-1 after extra time, Arsenal goalkeeper Lehmann stepped up to save spot kicks from Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso to ensure celebrations across Germany.

A rare goal from 33-year-old defender Ayala four minutes after the interval put Argentina ahead and they held the lead until the 80th minute. But with the majority of the 72,000 fans driving them on, Germany equalised, with Miroslav Klose heading in his fifth goal of the finals.

Extra time failed to seperate the teams and penalties were needed to decide the tie.

Germany had won all three of their previous World Cup shootouts and converted all of their four penalties to march into the last four.

Germany captain Michael Ballack, who was declared the man of the match, said his team had deserved their victory. “That was sensational,” he said. “A victory on penalties is always rather lucky, but I think we deserved it.

“The match was not so interesting for the spectators because there weren’t many goal-scoring opportunities but in terms of tactics it was played at a high level.”

Ballack said the Germany team was riding the crest of a wave. “This team has had a real momentum since the start of the World Cup,” he said.

For two-time winners, Argentina it was heartbreak and their emotions boiled over after the final whistle with several players involved in scuffles as tempers frayed.

Argentina coach Jose Pekerman made three changes to the team that beat Mexico in extra time with the biggest surprise seeing Javier Saviola dropped to the substitutes bench for Carlos Tevez.

Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann, part of the West Germany side that beat Argentina 1-0 in the 1990 World Cup final, stuck by the same team that beat Sweden in the second round.

The hosts had scored after four minutes in each of their last two matches — although they did not manage an early breakthrough this time — and started off at a frantic pace to unsettle the Argentines.

Argentina playmaker Riquelme created the first real danger in the game with his inswinging corner forcing a clearance at the near post.

In the 16th minute, Germany had their first opening with Ballack latching onto a cross but he could only divert his header wide.

With the game scoreless at half time, both managers had their players fired up for the second half and Argentina had Juan Sorin booked meaning he would miss the semifinal.

But Argentina stomached that blow and four minutes after the interval they took the lead through an unlikely source.

Riquelme curled in a corner from the right and veteran Ayala, winning his 105th cap, powered in a header.

It was the first time Germany, who had kept three consecutive clean sheets, had gone behind in the tournament and they responded by piling forward.

Ballack had a chance to equalise on the hour mark but Ayala was on hand to block the Germany captain’s shot.

Maxi Rodriguez had a chance to wrap up the game on 66 minutes for Argentina but shot into the sidenetting.

It was a costly mistake as Germany levelled in the 80th minute with substitute Tim Borowski flicking on a cross and Klose heading in. — AFP





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