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Saturday, July 3, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: July 4, 8:54 AM UK
Low hails Germany 'champions' display

Soccernet staff

Germany coach Joachim Low said his team played "like champions" after they booked a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup with a crushing 4-0 victory over Argentina in Cape Town.

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A double from Miroslav Klose on his 100th international appearance, along with goals from Thomas Muller and defender Arne Friedrich ensured the convincing win over a lacklustre Argentina.

"The team did everything nearly perfectly today," Low said. "The result is nearly unbelievable because Argentina have a strong defensive team. It was first class that we were able to get so many goals. We played like champions."

Low reserved special praise for Klose, whose two goals took him level on 14 World Cup goals with German legend Gerd Muller.

"I'm thrilled for Klose," Low said. "He is truly impressive, such a wonderful and successful player. He has scored more than one in every second match.

"Klose has been outstanding in 2002, 2006 and 2010, he has always put on a top quality performance. Very few players could hold a candle to him. This is truly a feat to stay in the history books.''

One sour note for Germany was the booking picked up by Bayern Munich midfielder Muller for a handball which puts him out of the semi-final against either Spain or Paraguay.

"The fact we won't have him is a serious blow," Low said. "He showed how dangerous he is. The ball touched his thigh and his arm in one small moment. I question this yellow card.''

"What's important is to keep our feet on the ground and get our emotions under control. My team has been excellent and we have celebrated in the dressing room but we are remaining realistic.

"We are among the top four teams in the world but it's far from over. We have a great opportunity to make it to the final. We must concentrate and look forward to the next game.''

Muller, who netted his fourth goal of the tournament, said: "It's insane to beat Argentina 4-0. It's hard to find the words for a result like that. I think Germany is quaking right now and that's the right way to celebrate this."

Man-of-the-match Bastian Schweinsteiger added: "That gives you goose bumps seeing the way people are celebrating at home.

"We may have to play Spain next - they're the best team in the world, in my view. But we're good enough, we believe in ourselves."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated the team on their achievement, struggling to hide her delight after watching the match in the stadium with South African presient Jacob Zuma.

"Germany has done something wonderful today," Merkel told ZDF television. "It was overwhelming. This is a dream, just a dream. This is a young team but the way they played was very good. They did not allow Argentina much space."

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