Germany's disciplined defense and clinical counter attacks proved far superior to Argentina's creative flair Saturday, earning a convincing 4-0 win that ended Diego Maradona's hopes of becoming the third person to win the World Cup both as a player and coach.
Germany repeated history by beating Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinals for the second tournament in a row, and this time it never looked likely to need penalties to reach the semis.
Thomas Mueller gave Germany an early lead and Miroslav Klose scored two second-half goals either side of Arne Friedrich's simple tap-in as the Germans scored four goals for the third time this tournament.
"What the team showed, it was not only international level, but the level of champions," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "It was absolute class."
Klose's two goals in his 100th international gives him 14 total World Cup scores, putting him level with fellow German Gerd Mueller on the all-time list. Brazil's Ronaldo tops the list with 15, but Klose will have two more games at this tournament to surpass him.
Argentina entered the game with perhaps the tournament's most potent attacking lineup, but neither Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez or Gonzalo Higuain managed to break down the compact wall of German defenders.
Instead it was Argentina's defense that repeatedly cracked as all three of Germany's second-half goals came on well-constructed counter attacks.
After Mueller's third-minute header, Klose added a simple tap-in in the 68th minute. Friedrich then raced from defense to strike home the third in the 74th, and Klose added his second in the 89th.
"The first cross produced a goal, and suddenly we were looking at a different game," a devastated Maradona said. "They took advantage of all their chances." Maradona gave no indication about whether he would resign.
The lopsided result was a marked contrast from 2006, when Germany won a penalty shootout following a tense 1-1 draw. That game ended in a brawl after the shootout, but this time Maradona and the Argentina players simply walked off the field with their shoulders slumped.
"To lose like that is very painful," striker Carlos Tevez said. "We played badly and sometimes when you make mistakes you go home.
"They did what we knew they were capable of doing."
Later Saturday, Spain was set to play Paraguay in the other quarterfinal at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, with both teams trying reach the semifinals for the first time.
Most of Africa, meanwhile, was still trying to get over Ghana's loss against Uruguay on Friday, after the last African country in the tournament missed a penalty in the final seconds of extra time before losing a shootout.
Ghana was on the verge of becoming the first African nation to reach the World Cup semifinals, but Asamoah Gyan sent his spot kick onto the crossbar after Uruguay striker Luis Suarez had swatted away Dominic Adiyiah's goalbound header with both hands. After the 1-1 draw, the South Americans won 4-2 on penalties.
In a statement, South Africa's governing African National Congress said it was impressed by Ghana's performance, saying it proved Africans were capable of playing at the highest level.
"We are also very confident that the lessons learnt from this tournament will put Africa in a better position for the next World Cup in Brazil," said the ANC, which had urged South Africans to support Ghana after South Africa became the first host nation eliminated in group play.
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie is a doubt for his team's World Cup semifinal meeting with Uruguay after he went to a hospital Saturday for a scan on the arm he injured in the quarterfinal win over Brazil. Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said he did not yet know the extent of the injury but did not think it was serious.
Away from the pitch, American socialite Paris Hilton had to appear in court in Port Elizabeth late Friday after being arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana following the Brazil-Netherlands game. The court dropped the charges against Hilton after her co-accused, Jennifer Rovero, "acknowledged to be in possession of cannabis, and pleaded guilty," said Brig. Sally De Beer, a spokeswoman for South African police.
Rovero, 31, from New York, was sentenced to a fine of 1,000 rand ($130) or 30 days imprisonment, De Beer said.
A publicist for Hilton said the incident was a "misunderstanding."
Argentina: Sergio Romero, Martin Demichelis, Nicolas Burdisso, Gabriel Heinze, Nicolas Otamendi, Maxi Rodriguez, Javier Mascherano, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez.
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Arne Friedrich, Jerome Boateng, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Thomas Mueller, Mesut Oezil, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose.