Belfast Telegraph

Schweinsteiger anticipates Argentina provocation in World Cup quarter final

Bastian Schweinsteiger hopes a strong referee will take charge of Germany's quarter-final encounter against Argentina on Saturday.

The two sides, amongst the favourites for the World Cup title in South Africa, have a history together in major competitions and their most recent meeting four years ago was marred by ugly scenes towards the end.

It came at the 2006 finals when the Europeans came from a goal down to draw with their South American rivals at the same stage, before eventually prevailing in a penalty shoot-out - followed by a punch-up - at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

"The first thing is that we must not allow ourselves to be provoked in any way," the Bayern Munich star said.

"And I do hope the referee will nip in the bud any such efforts on the part of Argentina.

"We just mustn't be lured into responding in kind."

Schweinsteiger pointed towards the Albicelestes' win over Mexico in the last round as an example of how they can be a nuisance to the referee.

There was a heated exchange on the sidelines at half-time after Italian referee Roberto Rosetti let Carlos Tevez's first goal stand despite being clearly offside.

Schweinsteiger continued: "If you saw Argentina versus Mexico, in the half-time break the referee was really hard hit.

"We have already seen how the Argentine fans sit together in spite of the fact that those are not their proper seats, and they stop other spectators with the correct tickets to go elsewhere.

"I think that shows that Argentina are very self-confident asserting their own rights and even non-existing rights."

As ever, Lionel Messi has also been in the limelight during the competition with his coach Diego Maradona questioning why referees were not protecting him enough.

But Schweinsteiger said it was only obvious that the Barcelona star, who is yet to register a goal in South Africa, is fouled.

He said: "If a player has the ball for a longer period of time, then it's a matter of course that you must foul him sooner or later.

"But I don't think there's any player in the German's just not our style to deliberately go about fouling opponents. It's something that is just not in our character."

And the 25-year-old warned that Messi was not the only player to watch in the Argentina squad, adding: "Lionel Messi, it goes without saying, that he is a player that can weave his way through two to three players and then create space either for himself or for one of his team-mates.

"So we've got to make a collective effort to try and stop him. Other teams have been successful at it because he hasn't scored a goal yet and I hope it's going to stay that way against us.

"But while he is in the focus, there are plenty of other players that are dangerous, so we'll have to keep a watchful eye on them as well."

Belfast Telegraph


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