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World Cup Soccer

Germany thrashes Argentina, moves Klose to World Cup

Cape Town, South Africa (Sports Network) - Germany advanced to the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup for the third successive time as it downed Argentina, 4-0, at Green Point Stadium on Saturday in a World Cup quarterfinal match.

Thomas Muller opened the scoring inside of three minutes with a close-range header, while Miroslav Klose, who was making his 100th appearance for Germany, added the second goal in the 68th minute before Arne Friedrich grabbed his first international tally six minutes later and Klose added another in the final minutes.

Klose has now scored 14 World Cup goals, leaving him just one behind Brazilian great Ronaldo and level with German legend Gerd Muller.

Germany will play Spain, which edged Paraguay 1-0 on Saturday, on Wednesday in the semifinals.

"My team showed the desire and commitment of champions," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "I never imagined we'd win by this margin. We talked about many things, and my team did so many of them to perfection, it was terrific."

It took just a few minutes for Germany to seize the initiative as a free kick from the left wing was swung into the middle of the penalty area by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Thomas Muller was able to shake free from his defender and he headed the ball past goalkeeper Sergio Romero to get the Germans off to a flying start.

Argentina settled into the game a bit, but it was Germany which should have doubled its advantage as Thomas Muller darted into the box on the right and dropped a pass to Klose 12 yards from goal. Klose had only the goalie to beat, but his shot flew over the crossbar.

Gonzalo Higuain had Argentina's lone decent chance of the first half with a tame low shot that was comfortably saved by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Angel Di Maria went close with a 25-yard effort early in the second half, but Germany took firm control of the match in the 68th minute when Thomas Muller played a ball while on his back to Lukas Podolski, sending Podolski into the area alone.

All that was left was a simple square ball to Klose, who tapped it into the empty net.

Argentina was left wide open at this point and Germany added another goal six minutes later as Schweinsteiger danced into the box and got to the end line before pulling the ball back for Friedrich, who was left with an easy close- range finish.

Klose then capped the scoring with another simple finish in the dying minutes to cap a spectacular day for the Germans.

"Losing like that really hurts. We were appalling. Sometimes you fail to live up to your own expectations," Argentina's Carlos Tevez said. "I really don't now why this has happened.

"They totally dominated us."

07/03 16:36:45 ET

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