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Germany, Spain advance, set up dream match-up in semis

Spain's Carles Puyol, front, and Paraguay's Nelson Haedo

Spain's Carles Puyol, front, and Paraguay's Nelson Haedo Valdez vie for the ball during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Paraguay and Spain at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. (July 3, 2010) Credit: AP

Germany-Argentina was supposed to be the match everyone talked about after it happened. I guess we'll wait and settle for Germany-Spain, instead.

We'll take it.

Germany throttled Argentina today, 4-0, putting to rest a weeklong war of the words between the teams that met in last year's quarterfinal in Berlin. Thomas Muller started the party just three minutes in, while Miroslav Klose added two goals to give him 14 for his career -- tied for second on the all-time list.

Spain, meanwhile, skated by an opponent once again with a 1-0 win over Paraguay. David Villa provided yet another classy goal and has taken the lead in the race for the Golden Boot with five goals.

After South American dominance through the first 50 games of the tournament, the Europeans finally flexed their muscles in the quarterfinals. All three teams - Germany, Netherlands and Spain -- won. Only one of South America's four teams -- Uruguay -- advanced and they needed a gift from Ghana to pull it off.

The semifinals begin Tuesday with Uruguay versus the Dutch, followed by Germany-Spain Wednesday.

New York Sports