Quarter-final opponents back in 2006, Argentina and Germany are ready to cross swords again in Cape Town on Saturday. Up for grabs is a place in the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. With five world titles between them, La Albiceleste and Die Nationalmannschaft are two of the world’s most successful national outfits. Expectation is high ahead of their latest duel, especially with both sides in such vibrant form and memories of Germany's tense penalty shoot-out triumph four years ago still fresh.
Argentina have been in flawless form to date, winning all three of their group games before disposing of Mexico in the Round of 16. Much-questioned before the tournament, coach Diego Maradona seems to have identified his best line-up, one that naturally includes Lionel Messi, a mere bit-part player at Germany 2006. The Argentinians can also take heart from their 1-0 defeat of the Germans in a March friendly in Munich, the only goal of the game coming from Gonzalo Higuain, who has been in scintillating form in South Africa.
In the last eight for an amazing 15th time in a row, Germany won Group D despite a surprise reverse against Serbia. Impressive against both Australia and Ghana, Joachim Low’s side turned on the power against England in the last round, swamping them 4-1 in a superb display of attacking football. These two giants of the world game have met five times before in the competition’s history. The Germans hold sway with three victories to Argentina’s solitary win in the Mexico 1986 Final. The other game, a group match at England 1966, ended in a goalless draw.
Demichelis has had his ups and downs so far at South Africa 2010 but cannot afford to be on anything less than his best form against the relentless Klose. Team-mates at Bayern Munich, the duo know each other inside out and will be intent on capitalising on each other’s weak points in a head-to-head that could prove crucial to the outcome.
8 - The number of players on yellow cards going into Saturday’s match: Mario Bolatti, Javier Mascherano and Gabriel Heinze of Argentina; and Mesut Ozil, Cacau, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller of Germany.
What they said
"I'd love to be out on the pitch this time and pull on a shirt and play. It's a game we can't afford to lose but I wouldn't compare it to the 1986 Final. Germany are a very tough side for sure. They're more powerful than Mexico but we have the resources to beat them," Diego Maradona, Argentina coach.
"Look at the names on paper and Argentina are stronger than us. But it was the same with England. They had more experience and bigger names but that didn't show on the pitch. We have a great team and we can definitely go out and do what we did in our last game," Miroslav Klose, Germany forward.
Voice of the fans
"I can't wait for this match. It's going to be MASSIVE. The 2006 game was the best I've ever seen and I hope Germany can do it again," FIFA.com user Ibby1992.
Have your say
Can Argentina exact revenge for their defeat four years ago or will the Germans make it to the semi-finals at their expense again?