Germany steamrollered Argentina to reach the World Cup semi-finals with a brace from Miroslav Klose, winning his 100th cap, and goals from Thomas Müller and defender Arne Friedrich.
Three-times Germany now face either Spain or Paraguay in the last four with Uruguay meeting Holland in the other semi-final.
Müller, who picked up an unfortunate booking to rule him out of the semi, nodded in a Bastian Schweinsteiger free-kick after just three minutes.
“It’s difficult to know what to say when you sweep Argentina aside 4-0,” said an overwhelmed Müller. “We did it as a team and I can’t pick out any individuals. We all pulled together for this and it’s just great.”
Captain Philipp Lahm was equally incredulous: “No way – they are a top team. It’s unbelievable that we beat them 4-0,” he told German state broadcaster ZDF.
Manager Joachim Löw advised caution in the midst of the euphoria. “There’s still a long way to go. There are two games left. We’re among the four best in the world. But that’s where this team deserves to be.”
Although star player Lionel Messi strove to raise the Argentinians the Germans continued to dominate as Klose tapped in after Müller combined with Lukas
Podolski on 68 minutes.
With Chancellor Angela Merkel watching in the stands, Friedrich added the third in the 74th minute after a surging run and pass from Schweinsteiger.
Central defender Friedrich, who was relegated with Hertha Berlin last season, could not believe that he had chosen the World Cup to score his first goal for Germany. “I can’t describe what is happening. For me personally. I had a really bad year, and now this. I wasn’t expecting to ever score another goal.”
After the match, Merkel told ZDF, “That was overwhelming. It’s a dream, a complete dream. It’s a young team, but it was great to see how composed they were in front of goal. And they played really well in defence too.”
Klose volleyed home the fourth in the 89th minute as an outplayed Argentina disintegrated to notch his 14th World Cup goal, level with German legend Gerd Müller and just one behind record holder Ronaldo.
Germany took the lead after just three minutes when Lukas Podolski earned a free-kick that Schweinsteiger curled in for Müller to head home his fourth goal of the tournament, the ball deflecting in off goalkeeper Sergio Romero’s leg.
Argentina had a goal disallowed with half-time approaching after the linesman spotted four Argentinians offside.