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Shooting the Breeze: World Cup 2010 Day 21 - Quarter Finals - Argentina vs Germany and Paraguay vs Spain

Germany ruthlessly put Argentina to the sword while Spain's in-form striker David Villa pierced the Paraguay defence to finalise a mouthwatering set of Semi-Finals

South American sides have been lauded for their attacking play during this World Cup. All 5 sides from South America who qualified for the world cup qualified for the last 16 but by the time the quarter finals were over only Uruguay remained for the Semi Final and they still haven't face top quality opposition in the knockout rounds yet.

The key to staying in the World Cup has been defensive organisation but you won't progress very far without a cutting edge.

Germany comprehensively demolished the Argentinians who had arrived at the finals with an overwhelmingly attacking lineup but with a question mark over their defence and coach Diego Maradona's tactics.

Bastian Schweinsteiger's free kick was flicked into the back of the net by Thomas Muller as early as the 3rd minute as Argentina's defence finally came up against an in-form attack who mercilessly tore the apart in a series of counter-attacks.

Muller had another superb game and was devastated to be booked for handball and subsequently ruled out of a possible semi-final.

The Germans were always going to build on the early lead and Miroslav Klose celebrated his 100th German cap with a pair of goals to take him level with Germany legend Gerd Muller on 14 World Cup goals. He might have had one in the first half but finally scored his first of the game after 67 minutes - a tap-in after Lukas Podolski came off the left wing to deliver an inch perfect cross for him.

Argentina were reeling as they struggled to contain Germany who made it 3-0 in the 74th minute after Schweinsteiger skipped past a couple of Argentine defenders in a Messi-esque run before crossing for veteran defender Arne Friedrich to score his first ever goal for Germany.

Klose completed the rout with his second of the game a minute from time to make it 4-0 following a cross by Mesut Ozil.

Spain made it to their first World Cup Semi Final after in-form striker David Villa scored the goal that beat a highly defensive Paraguay side.

A dire first half, in which Paraguay claimed to have scored in the 41st minute but was chalked off for offside, gave way to a gripping second half.

Fernando Torres continued to lack confidence and match fitness and was withdrawn before the hour and his replacement Cesc Fabregas offered a little more from deeper in midfield.

It was a tale of two penalties in a crazy five minutes shortly after Torres was withdrawn after less than an hour.

Gerrard Pique was penalised for blatantly hauling Oscar Cardozo down in the area but Cardozo looked nervous in the run up to taking the penalty himself and Iker Casillas subsequently saved it. The drama was not over though, the action switched to the other end where there was more penalty drama.

Antolin Alcaraz could have been sent off after bringing down David Villa in the area and Xabi Alonso thought he had scored from the penalty spot but the referee demanded a retake for encroachment. Alonso subsequently missed the retake and the referee missed a stonewall penalty for a foul on Fabregas who was following up the ball which had been parried by Justo Villar.

It was amazing that the scores remained level after so long - a testament to Paraguay's organisation but they lacked a cutting edge and soon enough Spain were rewarded for their attacking play when David Villa finally broke the deadlock with 8 minutes to spare and it was another event that will be discussed at length.

Andres Iniesta drifted into the area and put Pedro clean through - his chance came back off the post but only as far as David Villa whose effort struck both posts before bouncing into the back of the net. It was an amazing sequence of events and fully deserved.

Roque Santa Cruz came off the bench late on and spurned a chance of an equaliser after he couldn't finish off a parried shot by Lucas Barrios with Iker Casillas recovered in time to smother the shot.

Spain will now meet Germany in a re-run of Euro 2008's final for the right to face either Uruguay or the Netherlands in the World Cup final.


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