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Page last updated at 18:47 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 19:47 UK

Monday's World Cup round-up

Friedrich celebrates Germany's fourth goal

Highlights - Argentina 0-4 Germany

Argentina coach Diego Maradona hinted he may resign after returning home following his side's World Cup elimination, according to a report from an Argentine cable channel.

"That's it, my cycle has finished," Maradona was reported to have said. "I gave all I had."

Uruguayan assistant referee Mauricio Espinosa has denied making a mistake over England midfielder Frank Lampard's 'ghost goal' against Germany.

Espinosa said: "You cannot talk about an error as it was not a technical mistake. It was simply bad luck with the ball moving at high speed which we couldn't see as it came down over the line - even though I was properly positioned. These things happen in football."

Miroslav Klose has admitted German fans did not know where their new heroes were going to come from until relatively recently.

Germany have lit up the World Cup with a series of fine displays, scoring four goals in three of their five matches and eliminating England and Argentina en route to the last four.

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Manuel Neuer are becoming household names across Europe.

"A few years ago people kept saying that it was a shame there weren't any new generations coming through," said striker Klose. "They said we have no forwards and no creative midfielders. Everybody deplored that. But time has proved these people wrong."

Klose needs only one goal to equal the record World Cup finals haul of 15, held by former Brazil star Ronaldo.

Two of Ronaldo's efforts came in the 2002 final defeat of Germany in Yokohama, an occasion Klose was part of for 74 minutes before being replaced by Oliver Bierhoff.

"I spoke with Ronaldo after the final," the 32-year-old recalled. "At the time I would not have dreamed of ever coming this close to him, needing two more goals to surpass him.

"I hope he's not too worried."

Germany coach Joachim Loew will continue to wear his trademark blue sweater at matches and won't have it cleaned while his team keep winning.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will not be in Durban to see Germany face European champions Spain in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

"The chancellor resumed work today and the week is so jammed with meetings that her presence at the semi-final will not be possible," said deputy government spokesman Christoph Steegmans.

The 55-year-old chancellor watched Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of Argentina from the stands in Cape Town and later, according to Steegmans, "had a personal conversation with the German team" in which she "expressed her recognition and great delight and wished them good luck for their next match."

Steegmans said it was not immediately clear whether Merkel would attend the final in Johannesburg on Sunday if Germany were to advance.

Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has undergone successful surgery for a back injury sustained at the World Cup.

A club statement said the operation took place late on Sunday in Milan and lasted about an hour, but did not indicate when the 32-year-old would be ready to play again.

However, surgeon Maurizio Fornari said: "I think between six and eight weeks will be needed for Buffon to begin rehabilitation and at least three months for him to return to playing.

"The surgery went very well and was needed to take the hernia in a less invasive manner in order to free the nerve that was suffering."

Buffon was substituted at half-time in Italy's opening World Cup match against Paraguay with a herniated disk in his back.

He was replaced by Federico Marchetti , but is likely to return as first choice after new coach Cesare Prandelli said he wants to make Buffon Italy captain. Juventus, meanwhile, have signed Marco Storari from AC Milan as cover.

Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg sent a cheeky text message to Luis Suarez on Friday night nominating his Ajax team-mate for the World Cup's best goalkeeper award.

Suarez will miss the World Cup semi-final between Uruguay and the Netherlands in Cape Town on Tuesday as a consequence of the deliberate handball that denied Ghana a place in the last four.

"I sent him a text message saying that he has been the best goalkeeper of the tournament," Stekelenburg told De Telegraaf. "I think he should get the Lev Yashin Award."

On a more serious note, the 27-year-old believes the absence of Suarez could improve his side's chance of reaching their first World Cup final since 1978.

"The important matter is that he cannot play," added Stekelenburg. "It is a big thing because he is always a threat."

Updated throughout the day.

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see also
Sunday's World Cup round-up
04 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Saturday's World Cup round-up
03 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Friday's World Cup round-up
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Thursday's World Cup round-up
01 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wednesday's World Cup round-up
30 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Tuesday's World Cup round-up
29 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Monday's World Cup round-up
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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