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July 1, 2010

Germany's Lahm trashes Argentina

Associated Press

ERASMIA, South Africa -- You're a bunch of sore losers.

Oh, yeah? Well, you're just nervous about having to play us.

Germany and Argentina are heating up the World Cup with a little bit of trash talking ahead of their quarterfinal match Saturday in Cape Town.

Germany captain Philipp Lahm added to the head games Thursday by essentially calling the Argentines hot heads.

"We have to concentrate on our own game. They are temperamental, we'll see how they deal with defeat on Saturday," Lahm said. "They are impulsive, temperamental and they don't know how to lose."

Lahm's comments upped the ante after midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said Wednesday that Argentina showed no respect for opponents and referees. Team manager Oliver Bierhoff then chimed in by saying the Argentines were "aggressive" and "provocative" on the field.

In nearby Pretoria, Argentina coach Diego Maradona said nerves must be getting to Schweinsteiger.

Laughing during an interview Wednesday night with Fox Sports Argentina, Maradona mockingly asked Schweinsteiger whether he was "nervous" and said his players were looking forward to "revenge," referring to the teams' history.

Germany eliminated Argentina on penalty kicks four years ago, also in the quarterfinals, and there were chaotic scenes after the shootout. The two sides exchanged punches and kicks in a fracas that included team officials from both benches.

Going back further, Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in the 1990 World Cup final -- avenging Argentina's 3-2 victory in the '86 title game. Back then, Maradona was leading the Albiceleste as a player.

"The important thing is that we answer on the field," Argentine defender Martin Demichelis said. "The best answer is during the game."

"Maybe because we beat them on March 3 (in an exhibition game) they respect us a little more."

On Thursday, Lahm dismissed Maradona's suggestion the Germans were nervous.

"We are tense but not nervous," Lahm said. "We are looking forward to the game."

Bierhoff said he had played with many Argentines and found them "friendly, warmhearted people."

"But on the pitch they are different. They become aggressive and provocative. We should keep a cool head and concentrate on our own game," the former Germany striker said.

Referring to the post-match fight in 2006, Bierhoff said, "emotions run high after a game but we should put it behind us."

Asked if the team's staff had talked to Schweinsteiger about his comments that started the verbal exchange, Bierhoff said he saw no need for that.

"I don't think there were so inflammatory," Bierhoff said. "It was not his intention to start a fire. He is a fair sportsman."

Schweinsteiger said that the fight after 2006 quarterfinal still weighed heavily on his teammates' minds.

"When you look at their body language and gesticulations, they way they try to influence the referees, they have no respect," Schweinsteiger said. "It's their mentality and character and we'll have to adjust."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press