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World Cup 2010: Argentina are bad losers - Philipp Lahm

Thomas Mueller celebrates his second goal against England

Mueller scores Germany's fourth against England

Germany captain Philipp Lahm has tried to step up the pressure on quarter-final opponents Argentina by accusing them of being bad losers.

"We know South Americans are impulsive and temperamental and cannot lose.

"We'll see on Saturday how they'll lose and how they'll behave after a defeat," said 26-year-old Lahm.

His comments came a day after team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger warned that Germany must not be "provoked" by Argentina during Saturday's match.

Midfielder Schweinsteiger claimed Argentina's players set out to unsettle opposing teams and influence match officials, saying: "It starts before the match. You see how they gesticulate, how they try to influence the referee.

"That is not part of the game. That is a lack of respect. They are like that. We should not be provoked by them."

Schweinsteiger and Lahm were part of the Germany squad when they beat Argentina 4-2 on penalties at the same stage of the last World Cup after extra-time ended with the sides level at 1-1.

That victory was marred by ugly scenes after the match, when players and coaches from both teams clashed on the pitch.

The referee waves the Mexico and Argentina players away

Tevez puts Argentina into controversial lead

There was also a heated exchange between Argentina and Mexico benches at half-time in their second-round match on Sunday, after the South American team's first goal was allowed to stand despite a clear offside.

"This behaviour shows their character and mentality," added Schweinsteiger.

"I hope the referee will pick up the feeling of who is provoking whom. We saw that again in their match against Mexico."

Unsurprisingly Argentina coach Diego Maradona made a forthright response to the comments and said: "What's the matter with you, Schweinsteiger, are you nervous?

"I'm not worried about what they say about the penalties, the kicks. We're going to go and beat them in their half. We don't have time to think about Schweinsteiger. The players are thinking about going onto the pitch, in getting their revenge."

On Thursday, Maradona was forced to withdraw star striker Lionel Messi from training because the World Player of the Year had a head cold.

The 23-year-old Barcelona forward, who has yet to score in the tournament, is expected to be fit for Saturday's match at Green Point stadium.

Meanwhile, Germany coach Joachim Loew said he had detected weaknesses in the Argentina side which he hoped his side could exploit.

"They have great qualities - for me, they are one of the favourites for this tournament," said Loew.

"They have a lot of experience, they have an impressive attack and not just through forward Lionel Messi alone. We have found weaknesses in their side, but I will keep that information for my players."

Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil missed training on Thursday as a precaution but are expected to be fit to play the quarter-final.

Podolski did not complete training on Wednesday as he had a minor muscle problem, while playmaker Ozil remained in the team hotel because he was feeling unwell.

"Sometimes it is maybe better to skip a training session instead of extending the fatigue you have," said team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

But striker Cacau looks unlikely to recover from an abdominal muscle strain in time for the game in Cape Town.

Downcast England players

Highlights - Germany 4-1 England

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see also
Germany fret over Schweinsteiger
24 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England were not prepared - Lahm
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Maradona cools Argentine euphoria
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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