For Thomas Müller, the breakthrough star of Germany's World Cup team, the quarter-final victory over Argentina was especially poignant given his own unlikely personal history with Diego Maradona.
In March, when Germany played Argentina in a friendly in Munich, the German attacker was the subject of one of Maradona's rages when the Argentine, intentionally or not, mistook Müller for a ballboy. Müller had been due to share a press conference with Maradona who refused to speak "until that ballboy leaves the room".
On Germany's 4-0 victory over Argentina, in which Müller scored the first, Müller said: "For me, this was an extremely satisfying day. Argentina couldn't cope with us. We played with tempo, pace and aggression and were by far the better team. I was surprised that Argentina didn't respond more, that they didn't come at us with more skill and cause us more problems.
"As for Maradona, well this is special for me. I don't think that he thinks I am a ballboy anymore. I don't think he knew me back then but he does now."
Müller will be suspended for the game against Spain in Durban on Wednesday for a booking that coach Joachim Löw disputed. "The fact we won't have Müller in the semi-final is a serious blow," Löw said. "He's shown just how dangerous he is. I really don't see why he was booked. The ball touched his thigh and then his arm from a very short distance. But we'll replace him and go forward."
Germany last played Spain in the final of Euro 2008 when they lost to Fernando Torres' goal. Six of that team started on Saturday, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, who said they were "looking forward to meeting Spain". He added: "It's awesome to beat Argentina, but now we must look to the semi-final."Reuse content