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The Berlin Wall

BERLIN (AP) -- There's no end to Germany's resourcefulness and tenacity at this World Cup.

The Germans relentlessly wore down Argentina in the quarterfinals Friday, taking advantage of a backup goalkeeper with a late goal to tie the game 1-1 and then winning the penalty-kick shootout 4-2 as Jens Lehmann stopped two shots.

"It's a thriller, like a Hitchcock movie," coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "Obviously you're the happiest person in the world if you win it and the saddest if you lose."

The hosts had seemed headed for a devastating loss, down for the first time in the tournament and frustrated by an Argentina team that dominated possession.

Rather than getting desperate, however, the Germans pressed the attack and fortune turned their way. Argentine goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri was injured in a collision with Germany's Miroslav Klose and replaced by Leonardo Franco, playing only his third national team game and his first minutes in a World Cup.

Nine minutes later, in the 80th minute of the match, Germany captain Michael Ballack lofted a pass into the penalty area and substitute Tim Borowski blindly headed it across the goalmouth. Klose ducked inside Argentina captain Juan Pablo Sorin, dived toward the net and headed it past Franco into the far corner.

After a scoreless extra time, Germany grabbed a spot in the semifinals opposite the Italy-Ukraine winner by dominating the shootout against Franco, who never came close on any of the shots.

So the party heads to Dortmund on Tuesday as the hosts seek their fourth world title. Argentina heads home despite controlling the ball for most of the game.

"It was a very emotional game, worth a quarterfinal," said Argentina coach Jose Pekerman, who resigned afterward. "Argentina played like a favorite, played well, even though they lost."

This was most anticipated match of the World Cup so far, pairing Germany's resurgent offense against the team that had scored two of the most spectacular goals of the tournament. But as classic soccer, it was a major disappointment early -- even the 72,000 fans seemed let down, and the usual fervor was missing.

That changed as the drama built, right into the shootout.


SOURCE: HERE

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