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An intense rivalry set to be reignited

Maradona's men geared up to check Loew's squad's progress

— PHOTO: AFP

MARKSMEN: Fans can look forward to some riveting display from Germany's Miroslav Klose and Argentina's Carlos Tevez in the

CAPE TOWN: Football powerhouses Argentina and Germany reignite their intense rivalry on Saturday in an eagerly-anticipated World Cup quarterfinal, with both sides boasting they will win.

The two countries met at the same stage in 2006 with Juergen Klinsmann's side going through 4-2 on penalties after over-cautious counterpart Jose Pekerman left Lionel Messi on the bench.

That shootout ended in a brawl when the South Americans reacted angrily after German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann saved Esteban Cambiasso's spot-kick to confirm victory.

Desire remains

The coaches are different now but the desire of both teams to get their hands on the World Cup again hasn't changed. Argentina lifted the trophy in 1978 and 1986 while the Germans have won three times, in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

Their rivalry stretches back a long way, with the Argentines beating Germany in the 1986 final before losing to it in the 1990 decider, games that featured Diego Maradona.

Now coach, the former midfield maestro is confident his team can counter the current German threat, despite it being high on confidence after crushing old enemy England 4-1 in the round of 16.

“We will take stock of our situation, then we will try and put together the best team to showcase our talents against Germany,” said Maradona, who is seeking to join Franz Beckenbauer as the only man to have skippered and then coached a country to World Cup glory.

“It will be the team to give us the guarantee to overcome Germany. We know Germany is a different team to (round-of-16 opponent) Mexico.

“They are stronger, but we will field the right players to beat them.”

Argentina, along with the Netherlands, is the only country left with a 100 per cent record after comfortably beating Nigeria, Greece and South Korea before ending Mexican dreams.

In-form Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez said he did not fear consistent Germany, which has not failed to reach the last eight since 1938.

“I was more afraid of Mexico —they play better football,” he said.

“(Germany) won their game and so reached the quarters, but they are not better than Argentina.

The Germans will have Chancellor Angela Merkel, a keen football fan, in Green Point Stadium watching the match and coach Joachim Loew is hoping his young team can impress her by riding the wave of beating England.

“There is a very positive feeling in the team. We have gained a lot of confidence from taking a victory against England,” said Loew.

“A lot of the younger players became European Under-21 champions and it has given them a lot of confidence for a tournament like this.”

While Argentina has been unbeatable in South Africa, Loew said he had identified weaknesses, without revealing what they were.

“They have a lot of experience, they have an impressive attack and not just through Lionel Messi alone,” he said. “We have found weaknesses in their side, but I will keep that information for my players.”

‘Disrespectful'

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger echoed his coach's comments.

“We have the key to this match, if we play like we did against England, we can win,” he said.

The Bayern Munich star was in the side that beat Argentina in 2006, and he remembers their reaction well.

“What I remember most is what happened after the game, this brawl which had been triggered by the Argentineans,” he said, then accused the current side of being “disrespectful”.

“I find that the behaviour of the Argentineans on the pitch, how they gesticulate and how they try to influence the referee, is disrespectful,” said Schweinsteiger as he set the tone for Saturday's enticing encounter.

Likely XI:

Argentina: Sergio Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Martin Demichelis, Nicolas Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze, Javier Mascherano, Jonas Gutierrez, Juan Sebastian Veron, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez.

Germany: Manuel Neuer, Arne Friedrich, Per Mertesacker, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller, Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose . — Agencies

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