Germany wins shootout over Argentina, advances to semifinals

There's no end to Germany's resourcefulness and tenacity at this World Cup.

The Germans relentlessly wore down Argentina, scored an equalizing goal in the 80th minute Friday, then won it 4-2 in a penalty-kick shootout as goalkeeper Jens Lehmann stopped two shots and the hosts made all four of theirs.

"We have a strong belief in Jens Lehmann," Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "As a former striker, I don't want to face him, and he proved that."

Rather than getting desperate when they fell behind for the first time in the tournament, the Germans pressed the attack and beat Argentina's backup goalkeeper Leonardo Franco playing only his third game with Argentina and his first minutes of the World Cup on Miroslav Klose's header to pull even 1-1.

Franco came on nine minutes earlier when Roberto Abbondanzieri was injured in a collision with Klose.

After a scoreless extra time, Germany grabbed a spot in the semifinals by dominating the shootout against the second-string goalkeeper, who never came close on any of the shots.

So the party heads to Dortmund on Tuesday against either Italy or Ukraine. Argentina heads home exhausted, despite controlling the ball for most of the game.

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

Pekerman, who won three world youth titles for Argentina and took over the national team job from Marcelo Bielsa in September 2004, announced after the match that he was quitting.

"For sure I am not going to continue," the 56-year-old Pekerman said.

Friday's match was most anticipated 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 if this was the classic soccer so many hoped for, it was a major disappointment early on even the 72,000 fans seemed let down, and the usual fervor was missing, reports AP.

O.Ch.