CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Another World Cup ended in tears for FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi.
To see Messi cry in the dressing room, whoever says that he doesn't feel pride for his shirt is stupid.” -- Diego Maradona
Messi broke down after Germany beat Argentina 4-0 on Saturday to earn a spot in the semifinals. Once again, the deft striker was unable to display his genius at the highest level of international soccer.
Messi showed flashes of brilliance during Argentina's first four matches in the tournament, but failed to deliver in the quarterfinal and the 23-year-old forward could not score at all in South Africa.
Still, Diego Maradona said Messi played a "great World Cup" and gave everything for his country.
"To see Messi cry in the dressing room, whoever says that he doesn't feel pride for his shirt is stupid," he said.
The charge is an old one against Messi, who has won everything possible at club level for FC Barcelona but has yet to lift Argentina to glory. Critics compare him to Maradona, the inspiration behind Argentina's 1986 World Cup victory and its 1990 run to the final. Messi has scored 13 goals in 49 caps, but only one in nine World Cup appearances.
Maradona was equally devastated. He walked slowly to midfield with his hands jammed in his pockets when the game ended, and couldn't muster any energy or enthusiasm at his news conference.
"I'm as disappointed as all Argentinians," said Maradona, who cast doubt on his future as national coach. "To see my country lose a football match is very hard for someone who has worn the shirt."
Germany will play Spain, a 1-0 winner over Paraguay, in the semifinals Wednesday in Durban.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.