2010 World Cup lookahead capsules

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Capsules for Saturday’s quarterfinals matches at the World Cup (FIFA rankings in parentheses):

Argentina has won all four of its matches, taking Group B, then beating Mexico 3-1 in the second round. Germany won Group D despite a loss to Serbia, then defeated England 4-1 in the round of 16.

Argentina: Although he has not scored a goal, striker Lionel Messi has been in the middle of most successful Argentine attacks. Gabriel Higuain leads the team with four goals, tied for the top in the tournament.

Germany: The youngsters have carried Germany, particularly Thomas Mueller, who had two goals against England, and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer figures to be tested by Messi and his teammates.

Notable Fact: Trash-talking on both sides has juiced up this match. Germany eliminated Argentina from the 2006 World Cup in a shootout in the same round, and a near-brawl erupted afterwards.

Spain beat Iberian neighbor Portugal 1-0 to advance after winning Group H despite losing its first match to Switzerland. Paraguay was the surprise winner of Group F, helped by Italy’s collapse, and is in the quarterfinals for the first time.

Spain: David Villa is tied for the scoring lead with four goals and has been Spain’s most dynamic player. That’s saying a lot considering how loaded the Spanish lineup is, with midfielders Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso and striker Fernando Torres.

Paraguay: Paraguay played in the only penalty kicks shootout thus far, beating Japan 5-3 after a 0-0 draw. It has yielded only one goal thus far as keeper Justo Villar — who was injured in the first 8 minutes of the 2006 World Cup — rarely has been tested.

Notable Fact: Spain won its first major title since 1964, when it took the 2008 Euros. It never has won the World Cup.