Germany is best of final four

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JOHANNESBURG --- Germany is the team to beat as the World Cup comes down to four contenders, with Spain, the Netherlands and Uruguay looking for a way to beat a German team that has peaked at just the right time.

With 13 goals in five games, Germany has sent home Argentina and England with ease, scoring four goals each time. The three other semifinalists have been less impressive.

At the end of the first round, South American teams were set to dominate the competition. Only Uruguay remains, with favorite Brazil falling to the well-organized Dutch.

Uruguay meets the Netherlands on Tuesday and European champion Spain faces three-time World Cup winner Germany on Wednesday for places in the final.

The Europeans and South Americans stand at 9-9 after 18 World Cups, so one of them is guaranteed to edge ahead in the July 11 final at Soccer City.

No European team has won a World Cup staged outside the continent.

On current form, that final looks like a Netherlands-Germany matchup, a meeting of two neighbors who also played in the 1974 title game when the Germans won on home soil.

Germany outplayed Argentina 4-0 in Cape Town on Saturday with Miroslav Klose scoring twice to take his total from three World Cups to 14 goals.

He has two more games to beat the career record of 15 by Brazil's Ronaldo.

The Germans, who have not won the title since 1990, also got four goals against Australia and England.

They are looking ominously good.

"What the team showed, it was not only international level, but the level of champions," coach Joachim Loew said after Germany beat Argentina. "It was absolute class."

Semifinals

Tuesday

- Uruguay vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Wednesday

- Spain vs. Germany, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)


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