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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 14:26, June 25, 2006
Germany, Argentina reach World Cup quarterfinals
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Hosts Germany and Argentina advanced to the 2006 World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday after beating Sweden 2-0 and edging Mexico 2-1 respectively.

In Munich, striker Lukas Podolski scored twice in eight minutes to help Germany ease past Sweden in the first match of the World Cup knockout round.

Podolski scored his second goal of the tournament four minutes into the game, when fellow striker Miroslav Klose broke clear in the box, was just stopped by Andreas Isaksson and Podolski was on hand to convert the rebound.

The 21-year-old put it 2-0 eight minutes later after a fine combination with Klose, who slipped a pass through and Podolski found the back of the net with ease.

Sweden suffered another blow in the 35th minute when defender Teddy Lucic was sent off for pulling back Klose and received his second yellow card.

Sweden wasted their best chance in the 52nd minute. Striker Henrik Larsson was awarded a penalty kick after being fouled in the box by Christoph Metzelder. But the 35-year-old made a complete hash of it and it flied over the crossbar.

Germany head coach juergen Klinsmann said after the match: "We were extremely well prepared from the kickoff. I played with full power and full energy. We wanted to attack and give them pressure from the start and the players did very well. "

Sweden's coach Lars Lagerback was unhappy with the red card. "It's tough to play a team as strong as Germany. It got tougher to play them with ten men."

In Leipzig, Argentine midfielder Maxi Rodriguez blasted a brilliant volley home in extra time against desperate Mexico on Saturday night.

Argentina, who edged Mexico 2-1 in extra time after a full-time 1-1 tie, will meet hosts Germany in the quarterfinals in Berlin on June 30.

Rodriguez was named Man of the Match by the FIFA Tecnical Study Group after the match. He said his fabulous goal had left him stunned he was confident Argentina could now overcome Germany in the quarter-final.

Argentine coach Jose Pekerman said after the match that both Argentina and Germany are great teams in world soccer history.

"Both teams have claimed the World Cup titles, and that is a great game we have awaited for so long," Pekerman added.

As for today's duel, Perkerman said,"It was a very difficult and interesting match which ended in extra time. Both teams know each other well and played their best."

In the second half, Pekerman sent all his key players to the pitch to avoid a stunned exit. He said that it would not affect their performance in the more crucial Germany game.

"We have several days to recover and the match against the hosts will be a really tough one." he added.

After a 1-1 tie in regular time, the Argentines grasped the hope in the first half of the extra time fight.

Eight minutes into the extra, Juan Sorin played a cross from the left wing to Rodriguez on the right edge of the box.

Rodriguez took it off his chest and stroke an amazing volley into the upper-left corner.

Mexican goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez made a dive but even could not touch the ball.

The breath-taking duel was an fantastic show to all spectators in the stadium and TV viewers around the world.

None of the teams played conservatively in the match which witnessed flash-paced attacking, attacking and attacking.

Despite fielding six defenders and only one midifielder, Mexico stunned the world by playing attacking football from the very beginning.

Only six minutes into the game, Mexico's only midfielder Pavel Pardo served the out-swinger and it was flicked on by Antonio Jose Castro at the near post right to an unmarked Rafael Marquez at the far post.

Marquez slid in to shoot it into the roof of the net.

But Argentina earned their equalizer in the 10th minute.

It was a well driven cross by world-class midfielder Juan Riquelme, and Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo managed to deflect it into the net before Borgetti could clear.

Both squads showcased their brilliant ball control skills and accurate passes and crosses in the match which could have the highest quality in the on-going World Cup.

Source: Xinhua


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