|Maradona looks lost as his team are torn apart in their quarter-final [GALLO/GETTY]
Diego Maradona's dream of winning a World Cup with his country as both a player and a coach was crushed as Germany thrashed Argentina 4-0 in Cape Town.
Both of South America's big guns are now out of South Africa 2010 following the Netherlands' defeat of Brazil the day before, with Europe recovering from a slow start.
Only Uruguay and Paraguay – who play Spain later on Saturday – remain.
Germany got off to a dream start when Thomas Muller snatched his fourth goal of the tournament, heading in a curled Bastian Schweinsteiger free kick after just three minutes.
Miroslav Klose, making his 100th international appearance, doubled Germany's lead in the 68th minute when Lukas Podolski out in a perfect pass from the left and the striker tapped in from close range.
Defender Arne Friedrich got a third with his first international goal in the 74th minute, finishing from a metre out after Schweinsteiger left a trail of defenders in his wake, before Klose completed the rout with his second in the 89th minute.
Dictating the pace early in the first half, Germany refused to fall back after their quick lead, pressing high in Argentina's half and coming close to a second through Sami Khedira and Klose.
Germany, who beat Argentina on penalties at the same stage of the tournament in 2006, gradually allowed their opponents to come forward, and responding with lightning-quick counter-attacks.
The Argentines, with playmaker Lionel Messi often stifled by two or three defenders, tried desperately to level with long-range shots before Klose doubled the German lead.
Friedrich then added the third six minutes later, before Klose volleyed home a cross from Mesut Ozil for the fourth and his 14th World Cup goal, just one short of Brazilian Ronaldo's all time record.
Germany now play the winners of the other quarter-final between Spain and Paraguay later on Saturday, and will be favourite to set up a repeat of the 1974 World Cup final with the Dutch, if the Oranje can beat Uruguay in their own last-four meeting.
The spotlight will now fall on the future of Maradona, who only just steered the Albiceleste into the tournament but appeared to have redeemed himself with sparkling performances in the early stages.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies