Germany vs. Argentina  0 - 1

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Demichelis weeks out with broken jaw

4 March 2010 12:06

(GSM) - Bayern München will be without Martin Demichelis for several weeks after the defender suffered a broken jaw on international duty.

Demichelis suffered his injury in the second half of Argentina's 1-0 win over Germany. The 29-year-old was carried from the field after clashing with his former club colleague Michael Ballack in an aerial challenge.

He was taken straight into a München hospital after leaving the field and was later diagnosed with a broken jaw, meaning a spell on the sidelines of several weeks.

Fortunately for Bayern, fellow centre half Daniel van Buyten was able to make his return to training yesterday and he could be in the frame for a return against FC Köln in the Bundesliga this weekend.

Article

Maradona: We can win World cup

4 March 2010 11:50

(GSM) - Argentina boss Diego Maradona has declared that his side have a very realistic chance of winning the World Cup this summer.

Maradona has not had it easy since he became manager of the national team in 2008, but a 1-0 win over Germany in Munich on Wednesday night showed that his side are primed and ready for the World Cup.

The Argentina boss said, "This game had the character of a World Cup quarter-final and this is the level we were looking for."

"Maybe the press in Argentina won't like it, but we are going to play a very good World Cup in South Africa."

A goal from Gonzalo Higuain earned Argentina the win and they also hit the crossbar as they controlled proceedings against a tired, timid and disorganised Germany.

"Argentina were very solid and extremely confident on the ball," said Germany coach Joachim Low. German boss also praised opponent’s team spirit.

Low bemoaned his side's lack of courage, but that aspect of Argentina's performance is what impressed Maradona the most at the Allianz Arena.

He was so impressed with how his team played that he recognised it had made his life even more difficult.

"What we showed is that we have a team who can become world champions for the first time after 24 years," said Maradona, who as a player was the instrumental figure in Argentina's 1986 triumph.

"But now I have got to reduce my squad from 30 players to 23. That is not going to be easy. We showed a lot of courage and the whole of Argentina was looking forward to this game.”

While comparing his team with Germany, "Germany has great potential and Argentina showed that they are on a par with them."

Lionel Messi, despite not putting in one of his best performances, was still a constant danger to the Germany defense while Juan Sebastian Veron rolled back the years to dominate the centre of midfield with Javier Mascherano.

The legend praised Messi for his brilliant display, "I thank God that Messi is Argentinean and I will thank God if he can make us world champions again."

He also showed his intention, “That is what we will go to South Africa to do - become world champions."

Article

Maradona says Argentina can go all the way

3 March 2010 23:05

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) - Argentina's larger-than-life coach Diego Maradona thinks that his players can win the World Cup if they show the form that saw them beat fellow favourites Germany 1-0.

"I am very happy because my players were so committed. They fulfilled my expectations. After 24 years Argentina needs the title, and playing at this standard we can do it," Maradona said after Wednesday's match.

"It was a tough game, but we showed that we are a great team, one of the best in the world," he added. "God willing, we are going to give our people a good World Cup."

Ninety-nine days before the World Cup in South Africa, the clash found "El Diez" under pressure after the 1978 and 1986 winners - the latter victory over the then West Germany virtually singlehandedly delivered by Maradona - came within a whisker of not qualifying and for his use of over 100 different players.

But his side outshone Germany on Wednesday, leaving the home side, which in contrast to Argentina had looked solid in qualification, looking like the one needing to go back to the drawing board.

"Mistakes get punished at this level," said Germany trainer Joachim Loew, assistant coach when Germany beat Argentina in a penalty shootout in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals.

"Argentina really was a very, very strong team with lots of strong individual players. We didn't manage to build up pressure today, to make use of chances."

After a slow start as the teams sized each other up, it was Argentina who looked the more dangerous of the two sides, led from the front by Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Fifa's world footballer of the year 2009.

In the 38th minute, Angel di Maria dribbled his way past a sea of German defenders to fire off a shot.

Germany 'keeper Rene Adler, fresh from being named Germany's first-choice goalie for the World Cup this week, pulled off a spectacular save, deflecting the ball onto the woodwork.

But then just before the break, disaster struck for the Germans with a slip-up from Adler, who plays for high-flying Bundesliga outfit Bayer Levekusen, that suddenly made his selection look not quite so shrewd.

Adler sprinted out of his goal to intercept the ball from a fast-approaching Gonzalo Higuain, but the Real Madrid star won the challenge, rounded the 'keeper and tapped into the open goal.

The episode was much to the disapproval of long-term 'keeper Oliver "King" Kahn, now resigned to the commentary box.

"If you leave your goal you have to make sure you get the ball. Otherwise you should stay on your line," he said.

The Germans looked in better nick in the second half, winning more possession and creating more pressure in the opponents' half, but it was to no avail as the visitors held firm.

Germany's best chances came though Cacau, who has been on sparkling form in the Bundesliga, with shots in the 77th and 83rd minutes, the second a half-volley which whistled over the crossbar.

"Our mistake was not to take more risks up front," said Germany captain Michael Ballack, sporting a black eye from Chelsea's recent Champions League defeat to Inter Milan.

Argentina is drawn against Nigeria, South Korea and Greece in the World Cup, which runs from June 11 to July 11 in South Africa. Germany will face Ghana, Serbia and Australia.

Article

Quick Report: Germany 0-1 Argentina

3 March 2010 22:40

(GSM) - Diego Maradona's Argentina beat Germany 0-1 in a highly anticipated international friendly on Wednesday. The only goal of the match came from Gonzalo Higuain.

Argentina were by far the better side in the first half and came close to scoring the opening goal when Angel Di Maria got past two defenders and blasted a shot onto the German crossbar.

But the visitors did get a reward for their performance in the 45th minute. Goalkeeper Adler stormed out of the penalty area in an attempt to clear the ball, but missed and allowed Gonzalo Higuain to take advantage and score.

The second half showed a more balanced encounter with Germany spending more time on Argentina's half, but Joachim Löw's men failed to create any danger near the goal.

The Germans begin their World Cup Group D campaign against Australia on June 13, and face Serbia and Ghana in the remaining games. Argentina are drawn into Group B with Nigeria, Korea Republic and Greece.

Article

Maradona's Argentina in nauseous German arrival

2 March 2010 18:40

BERLIN (AFP) - Argentina coach Diego Maradona has revealed his squad had a vomit-inducing arrival in Germany ahead of Wednesday's friendly, as their plane landing was affected by strong winds.

"Landing in Munich was worse than Peru's equaliser in the World Cup qualifiers," Maradona, 49, pictured in German newspapers on Tuesday smoking a cigar as his team trained, told reporters. "Lots of people vomited."

And with his position under pressure for some unconvincing performances of Albiceleste since becoming coach in late 2008, the flamboyant legend also had some bile left over for reporters from his home country.

"If it was up to Argentinian journalists we should come last in the World Cup. But the people are behind us."

Germany's trainer Joachim Loew, meanwhile, said that some of Maradona's best qualities as a player have clearly rubbed off on his team.

"As a player he was a genius, with his enjoyment of the game, his creativity, his attacking play. Argentina today are incredibly attacking -- just like their coach," he said.

"We can't afford to make lots of mistakes. There are hardly any teams that are as aggressive and as attacking as Argentina," he said.

Germany's captain, Michael Ballack, sporting a black eye from Chelsea's February 24 Champions League defeat to Inter Milan, said that despite their recent lack of form, he had the utmost respect for Argentina.

"They have the full repertoire, that's what makes them so dangerous -- but also interesting," the 33-year-old said. "Tomorrow night we are going to face a team that is absolutely top class, if you look at the individual players.

And as for Maradona's smoking, Ballack conceded this was "unusual" in modern football.

"I haven't seen that before, at least in recent years, a trainer on the football pitch with a cigar.

"But it doesn't interest us. He's not our trainer."

Article

Maradona: The people are on our side

2 March 2010 10:03

(GSM) - Argentina coach Diego Maradona believes he has plenty of public support at home even though he has been the target of fierce criticism in his country's media.

Argentina stumbled through the qualification process with Maradona at the helm and at one point, it was feared his team might even miss out on the finals for the first time since 1970.

In the end, the Albicelesti managed to qualify for South Africa but Maradona received a lot of media criticism.

"Our goal is to become world champion. The people are on our side, supporting us," said Maradona on a press conference ahead of Wednesday's friendly match against Germany.

"We will leave the journalists behind us and that gives us great strength, something like what happened in Mexico when we finished first."

Maradona also said that his 23-man squad for the World Cup is "80 per cent complete" with the remaining 20 per cent "to be decided when the time comes".

Article

Adler set to be German goalkeeper in World Cup

1 March 2010 15:50

BERLIN (AFP) - Rene Adler is set to be Germany's first choice goalkeeper at this summer's World Cup in South Africa, the national side's goalkeeping coach said on Monday.

"We have complete trust in our three goalkeepers...but particularly in Rene," Andreas Koepke told reporters ahead of Germany's friendly match against Argentina on Wednesday.

"Rene Adler is ahead in the race to be number one at the moment. He has played brilliantly in the internationals he has done so far."

Adler, 25, plays for second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and has represented his country eight times. The other two goalies in the squad are Manuel Neuer from Schalke and Werder Bremen's Tim Wiese, who is currently injured.

He is expected to start the game against Diego Maradona's side in Munich.