Germany defeated Argentina 4-2 on penalties after extra time in their quarter final at the Olympiastadion on Friday. The game had ended after 90 minutes at 1-1.
Argentina may face an investigation into clashes involving several players and officials at the end of the shoot-out in which punches and kicks appeared to be thrown.
A delightfully worked 80th-minute equaliser by Miroslav Klose cancelled out Roberto Ayala’s 48th-minute header and condemned these two old rivals to an additional 30 minutes of play, and penalties, for the right to line up in Dortmund for the first of the semi-finals on Tuesday.
The goal added further to the Werder Bremen striker’s growing reputation and underlined Germany’s tradition for scoring late goals.
It salvaged what had begun to look like a black day for German sport after it emerged that Jan Ullrich, the German cyclist, was out of this year’s Tour de France, which he had been widely expected to win, after being named in an anti-doping investigation.
This was the architypical game of two halves: the first, nearly chanceless and tetchy, the second full of passion and endeavour after Ayala had got it off to an explosive start.
There seemed little reason to expect a breakthrough as Maxi Rodríguez won a corner on the Argentine right that was taken by Juan Román Riquelme. The German defence had coped comfortably with everything the South Americans had thrown at them in the first half.
This time, however, Ayala, a nerveless centre-back in his day job, got his head to the ball in spite of the presence of Klose. His direction was good enough to beat both goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and Philipp Lahm on the goal-line.
The match immediately opened up, with Germany pressing increasingly feverishly for the equaliser, urged on by their supporters and Argentina looking menacing on their occasional breaks.
Just after the hour, German coach Jürgen Klinsmann played his first card, replacing the dependable Bernd Schneider with David Odonkor, an orthodox right-winger with pace.
It was the other substitute, Tim Borowski, who proved the more effective, getting a vital touch to Michael Ballack’s cross to flick the ball into the path of Klose, who headed home from six yards.
Argentine coach José Pekerman had made three changes from the side that had to battle to knock out Mexico in the second round, with the puckish Carlos Tevez on from the start and Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Saviolo, scorers of
two of the best goals in the tournament, relegated to
the bench. There were no surprises, however, from Klinsmann, who selected
the side we have become familiar with.
It was at once clear, with every former World Cup winner except Uruguay, reaching the last eight, that we had reached the business end of the competition. A niggling start saw German striker Lukas Podolski booked as early as the third minute as the stadium reverberated with whistles.
The German supporters were adopting a more aggressive tone than in previous matches, with Riquelme a particular target for their catcalls. Torsten Frings and Ballack were keeping the Villareal player under more or less complete control, however. By contrast Ballack, playing perhaps his most effective game of the competition, was being allowed to roam free.
In the 16th minute, the German captain should have scored, finishing a slick move by heading wide after finding space with one of his trademark diagonal runs.