| MUNICH, March 2
MUNICH, March 2 Germany captain Michael Ballack
has stoked up the rivalry with Wednesday's opponents Argentina
by saying the South Americans are experts in the art of
"They know all the tricks and secrets," he told reporters on
Tuesday. "Together with their quality, it's the way they
understand football. They have the full repertoire.
"In character, we're very different from the South Americans
and that's no secret. Perhaps it's something they learn from
their childhood, it's part of the game and you have to take it
into account when you play them.
"It makes them very difficult opponents, but also a very
interesting team when they stay within the boundaries."
Germany knocked Argentina out of the last World Cup in the
quarter-finals, winning on penalties after a 1-1 draw, but the
match ended with an ugly brawl between the two teams.
Torsten Frings, a key player, was suspended from the
semi-final against Italy as a result and the Germans lost 2-0 in
Ballack praised Argentina coach Diego Maradona, saying that
he and his team mates were in awe of a player who is considered
among the finest to have graced the game.
"He holds an incredible aura for all of us, what he has done
for the football world is incredible," said Ballack. "It's
fantastic to play against this type of personality."
Germany coach Joachim Loew agreed with Ballack but did not
want to comment on the coaching abilities of Maradona, the
subject of huge debate in Argentina.
Loew saw a positive side to the fact that Maradona had
called up more than 100 players in 18 months.
"People may find it incredible that he has picked over 100
players and, I believe, eight goalkeepers, but I think it just
shows that he's spoilt for choice.
"I think when it boils down to it, he has a nucleus of
(Editing by John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story