Germany wins shootout over Argentina

Jens Lehmann made the key saves in the penalty shootout on Friday to send Germany into the World Cup semifinals with a 4-2 win over Argentina.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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Jens Lehmann made the key saves in the penalty shootout on Friday to send Germany into the World Cup semifinals with a 4-2 win over Argentina. Lehmann saved shots from Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso to give the host team the win after a tense match at the Olympic Stadium. Oliver Neuville, Michael Ballack, Lukas Podolski and Tim Borowski all scored for the Germans. Julio Cruz and Maxi Rodriguez scored for Argentina. Before the shootout, backup goalkeeper Oliver Kahn shook hands with Lehmann as he sat on the ground waiting for the penalty kicks to start. Miroslav Klose headed in the goal that sent the match into extra time in the 80th. The two teams played 30 minutes of extra time but were still level at 1-1. Ballack crossed the ball into the center for Borowski, who headed the ball on to Klose. The Polish-born Germany striker then scored his tournament-leading fifth World Cup goal by beating backup goalkeeper Leonardo Franco. Franco, who was playing in a World Cup for the first time, came on for Roberto Abbondanzieri. Argentina's starting goalkeeper left the field in the 71st, about five minutes after a collision with Klose on a free kick. Ayala had put Argentina in the lead in the 49th with a header off a corner from Juan Roman Riquelme. The winner will play Italy or Ukraine in the semifinals on Tuesday in Dortmund. With Ballack limping through extra time, neither team created much offence. The Germany captain sat down on the sideline in pain in the 116th, moments after giving his team its best chance with a through ball to Neuville. Ballack returned to the game two minutes later. Argentina controlled the ball for two-thirds of the first half, dictating a slower pace that frustrated the Germans. But it was the hosts who got the only true scoring chance in the half, with Ballack putting a header wide and high in the 16th minute off a lob from Bernd Schneider. Ballack began limping midway through the period, but at least he was noticeable. Klose touched the ball just a couple of times, while Argentina striker Hernan Crespo was invisible. If this was the classic soccer so many hoped for, it was a major disappointment. Even the 72,000 fans seemed let down, and the usual fervor was missing. About the most action in the opening 45 minutes came on fouls: 25 in all. Klose was heavily involved in Argentina's first goal, though. Riquelme, who orchestrates the methodic Argentine attack, sent his corner kick into the middle of the Germany box, and Ayala soared over Klose to head it home. It was the first time Germany trailed in the tournament, and Olympic Stadium suddenly was alive with jumping, chanting, blue-and-white clad fans. (AP)