Clash of World Cup titans as Germany, Argentina eye last four

Phil Seery
BERLIN, June 28, 2006 (AFP) – It does not come much bigger than Germany versus Argentina – a match-up steeped in World Cup history that will bring the host country to a standstill on Friday.

The quarter-final clash in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium will evoke memories of 1986 and 1990 when West Germany and Argentina faced each other in successive World Cup finals.

A Diego Maradona inspired Argentina defeated West Germany 3-2 in 1986 but four years later the Germans gained revenge with a 1-0 win in Rome.

That was the last time Germany defeated Argentina – with the South Americans enjoying two wins since – and their current coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a member of the victorious 1990 team, hopes to change that in Berlin on Friday.

"Argentina are a great team but we can compete with them and I am sure we can beat them," Klinsmann said.

"From what I have seen of the other countries in this tournament we do not need to hide from anyone."

Hosts Germany have won four matches in a row to surge into the last eight and kept three consecutive clean sheets in the process.

Klinsmann’s strikers are also firing on all cylinders with Miroslav Klose leading the goalscoring charts with four while junior partner Lukas Podolski is on three.

With fan power driving them on, Germany believe a fourth World Cup title is possible but Argentina share the same ambition.

"Against Germany, we have to win — however we can," Argentina captain Juan Pablo Sorin said. "We’re playing a contender to win it, and all of the fans will be against us.