Argentina 0-4 Germany
An outstanding performance by Bastian Schweinsteiger inspired Germany to a stunning 4-0 victory as Joachim Loew's side roared into the SA2010 semi-finals
Few people outside Germany expected the three-times winners to reach the quarter-finals, let alone the last four, after arriving at the tournament with a squad lacking in big international names of previous German campaigns.
But they have to be considered one of the favourites now after a clinical display in Cape Town which left Diego Maradona's Argentina humiliated.
It was supposed to be the clash of the titans yet this tie was so one-sided that it was more like men-versus-boys.
Germany, beaten by Serbia in the group stages, never looked back after Thomas Mueller opened the scoring as early as the third minute.
Miroslav Klose added a second midway through the second half before the floodgates really opened with Arne Friedrich and Klose again adding late goals to complete Argentina's misery.
Germany took 20 minutes to breakdown England's defence six days earlier.
Yet they required just a fraction of that time to deliver a major blow to Argentina as Mueller made the most of some suspect defending.
The tie was just two minutes 40 seconds old when the Bayern Munich man was allowed to skim across defender Nicolas Otamendi and glanced Schweinsteiger's terrific curling free-kick into the net.
Keeper Sergio Romero was at fault for failing to deal with the danger, but his opponent's finishing was clinical, as Mueller netted the quickest goal of the tournament.
Argentina have entertained and enthralled with their attacking displays in South Africa.
But for the first time in the competition, the likes of Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez struggled to impose their talent on the game as they found themselves starved of service.
Instead it was Schweinsteiger, Muller and Lukas Podolski who caught the eye, as Germany looked to build on their excellent start.
Klose, making his 100th international appearance, should have doubled the lead midway through the first half but ballooned his effort over the bar from 14-yards.
Argentina's nightmare performance was summed up by Messi, who leaves South Africa without finding the net. The Barcelona ace spurned a glorious chance to break his scoring duck when he blazed over on the half hour mark.
Argentina rarely looked like penetrating the German defence before half time and their frustration began to show as their World Cup dream began to evaporate.
In truth, this was never as ugly as previous encounters between these two rivals, even though Germany wiped the floor with Argentina.
They sealed victory in the 67th minute when Podolski teed-up Klose to score from six-yards before Friedrich, with his first for his country, made it 3-0 seven minutes later after another terrific run by the impressive Schweinsteiger.
Argentina's misery was complete when Klose made it 4-0 in the final minute, the Bayern Munich man volleying into the corner after Mesut Oezil's cross from the left.
A humiliating end to Maradona's World Cup while Germany look unstoppable.
Argentina: Romero; Otamendi, (Gomez 69), Demichelis, Burdisso, Heinze; Rodriguez, Mascherano, Di Maria (Aguero 76); Messi; Tevez, Higuain.
Subs (not used): Pozo, Andujar, Rodriguez, Garce, Samuel, Bolatti, Veron, Gutierrez, Pastore, Palermo, Milito.
Germany: Neuer; Lahm, Friedrich, Mertesacker, Boateng (Jansen 72); Khedira (Kroos 78), Ozil, Schweinsteiger; Podolski, Muller (Trochowski 83); Klose.
Subs (not used): Wiese, Butt, Tasci, Badstuber, Aogo, Marin, Kiessling, Cacau, Gomez.
Referee: R Irmatov (Uzbekistan)