Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was the toast of Germany as the hosts progressed into the semifinals of the World Cup with a sensational 4-2 penalty shootout win over Argentina on Friday. With the game unsettled at 1-1 after extra-time, Arsenal goalkeeper Lehmann stepped up to save spot-kicks from Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso to ensure celebration parties across Germany.
It does not come much bigger than Germany vs Argentina -- a match-up steeped in World Cup history that will bring the host country to a standstill on Friday. The quarterfinal clash in Berlin's Olympic Stadium will evoke memories of 1986 and 1990, when West Germany and Argentina faced each other in successive World Cup finals.
Germany recorded a third straight win to finish top of World Cup Group A with their Polish connection of Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski gunning down a weakened Ecuador 3-0 on Tuesday. Both teams had already qualified for the last 16 of the competition but Germany go into the second round with wind in their sails.
Substitute Oliver Neuville scored a stoppage-time winner as host nation Germany moved to the brink of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Poland on Wednesday. Germany had spurned countless chances, with their Polish-born strikers Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski the main guilty parties.