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Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 13:40 UK

A clash of styles

Argentina coach Diego Maradona

By Jurgen Klinsmann
World Cup-winning striker, former Germany coach and BBC pundit

I think everybody is hoping for an exciting and open game when Germany play Argentina in their World Cup quarter-final in Cape Town on Saturday.

Both sides are very attack-minded and have got tremendous potential going forward but they go about it in very different ways and it will be a clash of two very distinctive systems.

Argentina have got three frontmen in Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi, who are behind everything they create.

There is no way anyone can keep Messi quiet for a whole game and I don't think Germany coach Joachim Loew will try to man-mark him or make any special plans to stop him.

It is not just down to Lionel Messi whether Diego Maradona's side performs or not

The danger is that if Germany do focus only on Messi, then Tevez and Higuain also have the quality to do something special and win the match, which is exactly what they did in Argentina's 3-1 victory over Mexico in the second round.

We all admire Messi but we have already seen that it is not just down to him whether Diego Maradona's side perform or not - and that makes them very dangerous.

Germany's approach is to use Miroslav Klose as their main striker, in front of Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, who both come forward from deeper positions.

Klose has not had a good season for Bayern Munich but, just as he did for me when I was in charge of Germany at the last World Cup, he has raised his game at a major tournament.

I'm not surprised by how well Germany are doing because, after being manager of the national team for two years, I know what a lot of our players are capable of.


But we also have some young players, like Ozil and midfielder Sami Khedira, who have emerged in this World Cup. I am extremely pleased they have played to their potential.

They are relaxed, positive and self-confident. Despite it being their first time on the big stage, they are not nervous. They seem to want to show the world that they can do well.

I did not expect a result like the 4-1 win over England. Nobody in Germany did. We also all know that if Frank Lampard's goal had been allowed to stand it would have changed the whole dynamic of the game, so we are not overvaluing that result.

But the way the team have played on a couple of occasions at this tournament has been wonderful to watch and hopefully they can do it again against Argentina.

The real test for them will come if Argentina score the first goal on Saturday because we still don't know if Germany will be able to produce the same style of football we played against England if we are chasing the game.

I am sure Loew will keep calm, however, because he has the perfect character to get the best out of his youngsters.

Joachim Loew
Loew worked under Jurgen Klinsmann between 2004 and 2008

He was my assistant when I was Germany manager between 2004 and 2006 but he was never just a number two. He had taken Stuttgart to the final of the old European Cup Winners' Cup in 1998, when they lost to Chelsea, and also managed Fenerbahce and Austria Vienna.

His method of dealing with players is to be very positive, keeping the environment very relaxed, and the younger players are doing well because they are not afraid to make mistakes.

Maradona probably has an even bigger influence on his players, however, and I think that is a reason they have been such a threat in South Africa.

His appointment was a strange one but football is probably the only environment in the world where decisions are made on emotional grounds instead of any rational thinking.

But it could work out because it looks like Argentina have put the right package together.

Maradona is the emotional face of the team and the players just love him - it's like a father-son relationship for some of them.

Behind the scenes, they have general manager Carlos Bilardo, who probably provides a practical base and organises things tactically.

Bilardo is not just a World Cup-winning coach, he knows how to create the right environment and run things quietly.

So much success in football is built on inspiration

In the meantime, Maradona is on the training ground with his players - and once they get a hug from him, their energy and morale rises through the roof.

I have spoken to some of the Argentina players and they don't see Maradona as the former player who did some crazy things outside of football since retiring. They see him as the best player ever in Argentina's history. They look at him and say 'just give us a good feeling'.

That makes a huge difference because so much success in football is built on inspiration.

I played football in four different countries and had lots of experiences, good and bad, but when the team did well it was because there was an environment where I felt happy, energetic and inspired by people, whoever they are.

It could be anyone from the manager or coach to the physio or driver of the team bus but if you go to training with a smile on your face then that is when you play your best football.

That could be happening to Argentina now because they certainly laugh a lot!

Jurgen Klinsmann was speaking to Chris Bevan in Cape Town.

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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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