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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul, 1, 2006

Bierhoff hits out at 'Argentina temper'

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff has urged his players to forget the fracas that erupted after the World Cup victory over Argentina yesterday and concentrate on next week's semi-final against Italy.

Jens Lehmann's heroics saw the Germans win 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after a tense quarter-final in Berlin ended 1-1 following extra time.

But the celebrations were marred after at least one German player was left lying on the floor after being kicked, and punches were thrown by players on both sides.

Relations had soured during the shoot-out itself and spilled over at the end as players and officials clashed.

Argentina substitute Leandro Cufre was shown a red card by referee Lubos Michel for his part in the flare-up.

'It was really a friendly World Cup up to now,' said Bierhoff.

'It's a pity that we didn't carry it on yesterday. But the players of Argentina have so much temper.

'Their substitute Leandro Cufre kicked our Per Mertesacker and I tried to protect our players. Per has a wound on his leg.'

Germany face Italy in the semi-finals after the Azzurri beat Ukraine 3-0.

'We've won five matches. It's really amazing, what the team has done up to now,' Bierhoff added.

'We are on the highest level and we are among the best teams in the world. For me it was great to see the players celebrate after the match, but we don't have to exaggerate. Our aim is still to win the World Cup.

'They (Italy) are one of the favourites. I was sure that they would win against Ukraine. The team shows lots of discipline and effectiveness. The preparation for the match will be not so physical because of the short time. We have to work on our tactics.'

Midfielder Thorsten Frings is aware of the task coach Jurgen Klinsmann's side face against Italy, but insists the 4-1 friendly defeat they suffered against the Azzurri in March will have no bearing on the match.

'We've never lost the faith in our victory. It was a wonderful teamwork,' said Frings.

'But now Italy is the next hard team on our way. We have respect, but we are not frightened. We know we are strong enough for 120 minutes.

'I'm sure we will avoid a 4-1 loss like in the friendly match in March. I can't say whether Argentina are stronger than Italy, but in the semi-finals there are no weak teams.'

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