NPR logo In Clash Of The Titans, Germany Kicks Argentina Out Of World Cup


In Clash Of The Titans, Germany Kicks Argentina Out Of World Cup

Gabriel Heinze of Argentina and Thomas Mueller of Germany battle for the ball during Saturday's match. Chris McGrath/Getty hide caption

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Chris McGrath/Getty

Germany dominated a game Saturday that many had thought would be a contest for the ages, beating Argentina 4-0 in Cape Town. The high energy, disciplined German side separated themselves from Argentina early on and pulled away late, laying down their marker as a favorite to take their fourth World Cup title.

Thomas Mueller put the Germans out in front just three minutes into the game when his header redirected a free kick fromĀ Bastian Schweinsteiger past a helpless looking Sergio Romero.

While Argentina, coached by the fascinating Diego Maradona, did eventually pull itself together toward the end of the first half, the team never looked as if it were Germany's equal.

Argentina head coach Diego Maradona, right, may have been more entertaining than Joachim Loew, left, his German opposite number. But it was the German team's unified, low-key approach that won the day in Cape Town. Martin Meissner/AP hide caption

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Martin Meissner/AP

The floodgates opened in the final quarter of the game as Germany's star forward Miroslav Klose scored in the 68th and 89th minutes, sandwiching a goal by Arne Friedrich in the 74th minute.

Coming into the game, Argentina was unbeaten in the 2010 World Cup. The team looked as if it had an honest shot at glory, despite the failure of superstar Lionel Messi to score a goal in the tournament. But the high-risk offensive strategy employed my Maradona left a wanting defense exposed to an organized, team-oriented German counterattack.