Early Doors

Germany’s path of righteous vengeance

Early Doors

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Before the quarter-final between Argentina and Germany, it was all about Diego Maradona. After the Albiceleste were drubbed 4-0 in Cape Town, it's all about the Mannschaft.

Joachim Loew's young and exuberant team were even more devastating at the Green Point Stadium than they were against England in the last round, and with Brazil also out and Spain still far from convincing, the World Cup is suddenly their oyster.

Even the normally reserved German chancellor Angela Merkel was up and down in her seat as though she had a particularly amorous Silvio Berlusconi behind her. When she went to congratulate the players in the changing room afterwards, they all chanted "Speech! Speech!" as she entered the room, a real testament to the unity in Loew's squad.

No wonder Lionel Messi was reduced to tears, and a broken Maradona all but confirmed he will quit as manager. This match was not a World Cup elimination, it was a public execution. Even goalkeeper Manuel Neuer admitted to being dumbfounded and mesmerised by his team-mates' swift and instinctive counter-attacks.

Still, at least now we're spared the sight of Maradona streaking through the streets of Buenos Aires, as he had promised to do if they won the trophy.

It feels like a huge turnaround in fortunes for Germany, even though they also reached at least the last four of the last two major tournaments as well.

This time, however, they are doing it without several key players, not least injured captain Michael Ballack. His smug expression at the final whistle is a stark contrast to David Beckham's permanent frown throughout his role as England squad cheerleader.

A big reason for both of those previous successes is Miroslav Klose, whose brace saw him equal Gerd Muller's World Cup record of 14 goals and put his own international strike rate at better than one-in-two. On his 100th appearance. Mein Gott!

Klose has now scored as many goals in South Africa as he did all season for Bayern Munich. However, his record of seven goals in eight qualifying matches justified his place in the team, and how.

If he goes on to eclipse Der Bomber in this tournament - and who would bet against it? - then he deserves his own nickname. His team-mates may call him Miro, but Early Boers likes Der Flipper.

But Klose isn't the only one monopolising the jaw-dropping statistics: Thomas Mueller, his heir apparent, has scored with each of his four shots on target in South Africa. Germany are the first team to score four goals in three different games since Brazil in 1970, and they handed Argentina their biggest World Cup defeat in over 50 years.

It's amazing to think that, despite their incredible record in international competition, they are still managing to settle some scores as they storm through this tournament.

Beating England laid to rest the ghost of the 5-1 hammering they suffered in Munich, and the myopic Ecuadorean linesman in that match also saw them inadvertently avenge a 44-year old monkey on their back regarding Geoff Hurst's 'Wembley goal'.

Defeating Argentina so emphatically puts to bed any hangover from the penalty shootout win at the same stage four years ago, which ended in a melee in which Leandro Cufre delivered a unprovoked flying kick to the nether regions of Per Mertesacker.

Now, they have a chance to avenge their Euro 2008 final defeat at the hands of Spain. On this form, they will take some stopping.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY:  "(England) are under an enormous amount of pressure. I think the expectation levels of England are way above what they should be. I said before the tournament that if England got to the semi-finals it would be a terrific achievement. They didn't quite manage it. I'm not one of those people who looks at it and revels in them going out." - Scotland manager Craig Levein revels in England going out.

FOREIGN VIEW: "The 'Hand of God' now belongs to me. Mine is the real 'Hand Of God'. I made the best save of the tournament. Sometimes in training, I play as a goalkeeper so it was worth it. There was no alternative but for me to do that and when they missed the penalty I thought 'it is a miracle and we are alive in the tournament'." - Luis Suarez, who FIFA have confirmed will only serve a one-match ban for his last-minute handball on the line against Ghana, obviously doesn't do apologies.

COMING UP: There's the Armchair Pundit with his daily cheat sheet, plenty of analysis from our select squad of experts, and the World Cup news ticker will be ticking away with, er, World Cup news.

The men's final bring this year's events at Wimbledon to a close: Tomas Berdych v Rafael Nadal is live here from 14:00.

This year's Tour de France gets underway in earnest today. You can keep up-to-date either via our live commentary or watch it on the Eurosport Player. Why not join the peloton yourself by joining the #tourdetweet?

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