Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Merkel in the crowd for Argentina clash

Chancellor Angela Merkel, known as a keen football fan, will travel to South Africa to cheer on Germany in their crunch World Cup quarter-final encounter with Argentina.

"She will be there. I cannot yet give out the details of her trip but she will definitely be at the match, that's for sure," a government spokeswoman said.

Saturday's showdown, which will have millions glued to television screens from Buenos Aires to Berlin, comes wrapped in tournament history.

The Germans saw off the Albiceleste 3-1 in their first meeting at the 1958 event, ahead of a goalless draw in 1966 on their way to a final loss to England.

Franz Beckenbauer played in that match and had graduated to the dugout when the Argentinians beat his German team 20 years later in a Mexico final that saw Diego Maradona inspire his side to a thrilling 3-2 win.

Four years later and the boot was on the other foot as a tough-tackling Argentina lost in the decider of the 1990 tournament to an Andreas Brehme penalty, leaving Maradona fuming after a bad-tempered showdown.

In 2006, Jürgen Klinsmann's new-look German side slipped through a quarter-final meeting on penalties after over-cautious counterpart Jose Pekerman elected to leave Lionel Messi on the bench.

With Messi now the fulcrum of a side that looks unbeatable for pure fire-power, Maradona stands three games away from emulating Beckenbauer as the only man to have skippered and then coached a country to World Cup glory.

To read more: http://www.thelocal.de/sport/20100630-28189.html


Source photo: DPA / http://www.thelocal.de/sport/20100630-28189.html

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