Quarters kickoff: Germany to clash with Argentina
It's going to be a rematch of 1990 final when W Germany beat Argentina 1-0. Head-to-head | Tricksters | Photos | Gamesindia Updated: Jun 30, 2006 20:54 IST
German coach Juergen Klinsmann has got his team playing attacking soccer and their displays have sparked huge enthusiasm among millions of Germans dreaming of a repeat of the host nation's triumph on home soil in 1974.
The match promises to be a more entertaining affair than the 1990 final when a West German team including Klinsmann beat Argentina 1-0 in Rome to win their third and last World Cup.
Germany will enjoy the passionate support of the vast majority of the 72,000 crowd in Berlin's Olympia stadium.
Hundreds of thousands are also expected to congregate in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate in the German capital to follow the action on big screens.
Argentina, champions in 1978 and 1986, are unlikely to succumb as meekly to Germany as Sweden did in the second round. Two goals by striker Lukas Podolski in the first 12 minutes were enough to secure Germany a 2-0 win over the Scandinavians.
The Argentines were taken to extra time by Mexico in the second round, a superb volley from midfielder Maxi Rodriguez earning them a 2-1 win after a very tough battle.
Strikers Hernan Crespo and Javier Saviola will test a German defence which has not conceded a goal in three games since the 4-2 opening win over Costa Rica.
The game between Italy and debutants Ukraine in Hamburg on Friday night looks like being a more attritional contest.
The Italians, their domestic game in crisis over allegations of match fixing, have been irritated by criticism of their play and claims they have been lucky on their way to the last eight.
They appear to be developing something of a siege mentality which could make them hard to stop.
Ukraine reached the quarter-finals on penalties after a tedious 0-0 draw with Switzerland and fans will be hoping that they do not repeat the same tactics.
They possess a potential match-winner in Shevchenko, who has spent seven seasons in Italy with AC Milan but last month signed for Chelsea for an estimated 30 million pounds ($54.49 million).
The other two quarter-finals are scheduled for Saturday. England play Portugal in Gelsenkirchen, while holders Brazil face France in Frankfurt.