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

"Let’s hope we can surprise them with the experience of having played more important games in the last several years."

Without competitive matches for two years many thought Germany would be rusty but they look anything but, and have delighted the home fans with attacking football you would not normally associate with German teams.

It is an intriguing contest between Germany’s fit, spirited, young team of relative unknowns and Argentina’s young exciting forward line, complemented by old heads such as Roberto Ayala and Sorin.

Playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme is seen as the man that makes Argentina tick but Germany say he will not be man-marked.

"We can not make the mistake of concentrating on one player as Argentina have a lot of players that can decide the game," admitted Germany’s defensive midfielder Torsten Frings.

"I can not imagine running around after Riquelme for 90 minutes."

Javier Saviola, Hernan Crespo, Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi are just four Argentines with the potential to turn the game on its head.

Despite failing to beat a recognised top nation since October 2000 – when they defeated England 1-0 in the final match at Wembley Stadium – Germany are full of confidence.

"We do not fear anyone. Argentina are a top class team and deserve our respect but we are confident of beating them to reach the semi-final," said captain Michael Ballack.

Argentina are well aware that Germany have scored goals inside the first six minutes in three of their four games at the finals and midfielder Maxi Rodriguez said his team would be ready for a fast start.

"Germany won’t allow us to settle down or give us a moment’s freedom," Rodriguez said.

"That means Argentina will look to knock them down right from the start."

Germany and Argentina met twice last year – in February for a friendly and then at the Confederations Cup in June – and on both occasions the score was 2-2.

On this occasion there will be a winner – even if it takes extra-time and penalties.