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Germany-Argentina preview notes

Saturday, July 3, 2010
Jul 03

Posted by ESPN Stats & Information

Germany versus Argentina, Saturday
Green Point Stadium -- Cape Town


• The two soccer superpowers meet in the quarterfinals for the second straight World Cup. Four years ago, Germany advanced on penalty kicks after the teams tied 1-1.

• The last time these teams played at consecutive World Cups was in 1986 and 1990 when they met in the final both times. In 1986, Maradona-inspired Argentina won 3-2 in one of the great finals. In 1990, the teams played one of the most drab and dirty finals. Two Argentina players were sent off, Maradona imploded and Germany won on an 85th-minute penalty kick.

• Firepower: Argentina with 10 goals and Germany with nine goals are the two highest-scoring teams at the World Cup.

• Argentina beat Germany 1-0 in a friendly international in Munich on March 3. Thirteen members of Germany's World Cup squad played in that game (out of 15 used), and all 15 Argentina players used in Munich are on the World Cup roster. The two German players not at the World Cup are goalkeeper Rene Adler, whose huge error set up Gonzalo Higuain's goal, and Michael Ballack.

• Miroslav Klose shoots to keep moving up the World Cup all-time goals list. He currently has 12 goals, and a strike against Argentina would move him into third with Just Fontaine (France); a brace would move him into a tie for second with Gerd Muller (Germany), and a hat trick would tie him for first place with Ronaldo (Brazil).

Series history

• Argentina leads series 8-5-5. Germany has a 2-1-2 record versus Argentina at the World Cup.

What to look for

• Lionel Messi: He has played like the world's best in South Africa. Maradona has given him freedom to roam and encouraged him to be a playmaker as well as a striker. The only thing missing for Messi is a goal.

• Mesut Ozil: The 21-year-old Werder Bremen midfielder has emerged as one of soccer's new stars at this World Cup, including a great strike in the win over Ghana.

• Maradona's central-defender back line: It was in the Germany friendly that Maradona played four central defenders on his back line. The only time he has used that strategy at the World Cup was in the round-of-16 win over Mexico.

• Seven Germany players carry yellow cards into the game: Arne Friedrich, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Özil, Thomas Müller, Philipp Lahm and Cacau.

From the research room

• Argentina has won nine straight games overall, its best run since 1998.

• The last time Argentina conceded more than one goal in a World Cup match was in the 1998 quarterfinal against the Netherlands.

• Argentina has won only four of its past 16 World Cup meetings with European sides.

• Germany is the second-youngest team at the World Cup. Like Ghana, Germany is a young team that is tournament-tough, however: Nine players on the World Cup roster were on the Euro 2008 roster (Germany finished as runner-up), and five players were on the 2009 U-21 Euro-winning roster.

• Klose and Lukas Podolski came to South Africa with the poor tally of five Bundesliga goals in 2009-10 between them. However, the two have regained their scoring prowess during the World Cup. Podolski scored against England, his 40th international goal, and he has one more goal in 77 international appearances than he has in 149 Bundesliga games. Klose has scored 50 goals in 99 games for Germany.

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