Germans expect thrilling game against Argentina

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pretoria - German skipper, Philipp Lahm, says his team is expecting a classic game against the Argentineans on Saturday.

The two teams will clash in a crucial World Cup quarter-final match at Cape Town Stadium at 16:00.

When the teams clashed four years ago at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Germany beat Argentina 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after a tense quarter-final match which ended 1-1 after extra time.

"We know that the South Americans are temperamental on the pitch when things are not going according to their plans and wishes but this is not affecting our preparations at all because we are focusing on continuing to play our great football," he said.

Teammates Miroslav Klose and Lahm both agreed that Argentinean playmaker, Lionel Messi, will not be marked by one player, but will need a collective effort from the team.

"We know very well that he is a brilliant player and the only way to stop him from making his usual moves, we will use the team's collective efforts," he said.

The Bayern Munich defender said the players at the camp were not nervous about taking Argentina head on on Saturday.

"We are not nervous at all, but there is only a positive sense of anticipation at the team because we've been waiting for this clash since we defeated England last week.

"We are also not undermining the Argentineans because apart being the tournaments favourites, they are also a very strong side," said Lahm.

Lahm said while they respected the Argentinean player's individual strength, they've identified a few weaknesses that Maradona's boys possess.

Argentina advanced to the last 16 without losing a match and they progressed to the quarter-finals after defeating Mexico 3-1.

The Germans lost 1-nil to Serbia in the group stages and they humiliated England 4-1 to reach the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, the World Cup injury curse seems to have struck the Germans two days before their crucial quarter-final match.

Strikers Lukas Podolski and Caucau missed the team's training session at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Thursday.

However, team manager, Olivier Bierhoff told reporters at the team's hotel in Erasmia that Caucau, who sustained an injury on the right thigh, took a light jog while the team was training this morning.

Bierhoff said Polish-born striker, Podolski, sustained a strain muscle and was left at the Hotel when the rest of the team went to its training session in Atteridgeville.

"Podolski is not in danger of missing the match, we took this measure so that he can recover quickly before the Saturday match. I think Caucau is the one who will not be ready for the match," he said.