Captain Philipp Lahm of Germany on Thursday fueled a war of words between their top opponent and rivals Argentina ahead of their World Cup quarter-final clash.
Just right the day after midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany called the Argentines “disrespectful,” his captain said they aren’t sure how to deal with a defeat.
“Bastian said what he said. We know South Americans are impulsive and temperamental and cannot lose,” said the usually soft-spoken Lahm. “We will see on Saturday how they will lose and how they will behave after a defeat.”
In 2006 World Cup the Germany beat Argentina in quarter-finals on penalties before a violent brawl ignited at the end of the match, drawing in most players and coaches from both teams with brutal punches and flying kicks.
Also, both teams face each other in a World Cup final twice, with Argentina winning their second trophy in 1986 and Germany coming out on top in 1990 for their third World Cup victory.
“We have to concentrate on our football only,” said Lahm. “The South Americans are temperamental. We know that and we will see how they will deal this time with a defeat.”
“It is time we beat a top team. Our young team has to show that it can beat a top team like Argentina in 90 minutes,” Lahm said.
Bastian Schweinsteiger started the unusual war of words on Wednesday saying that players of the Argentina team were always trying to influence the referee to gain an unfair advantage.
“It starts before the match,” Schweinsteiger said and followed: “If 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 just are like that.”
Oliver Bierhoff, Germany team manager, assuming the role of a good cop, advised the German players to set aside their feelings and try to forget the 2006 World Cup brawl.
“We should leave it behind and keep a cool head and just concentrate on what we do best,” he told reporters while sitting next to captain Lahm.
“I do not think it will be a fiery game,” he said adding Germany were not overestimating their playing skills despite having played a good tournament so far.
“That is exactly the strength of the team. That they have a healthy self-esteem. This enthusiasm around them will not carry them away thinking they have reached their target.”