Germany will now play Argentina in a World Cup quarterfinal match.

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BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa — Germany demolished England, 4-1, on Sunday in the first titanic clash of the 2010 World Cup, one that will long be remembered for an England “ghost goal” that will reignite the debate over the use of technology in soccer.

Despite being by far the younger side, Germany showed plenty of maturity and, in the words of coach Joachim Loew, “determination,” as it comfortably won courtesy of goals from Miroslav Klose — his 50th for Germany — Lukas Podolski, and a pair from Thomas Mueller.

Germany will now play Argentina in a quarterfinal match Saturday.

England was on target and could have gone 2-2 in the 38th minute had referee Jorge Larrionda and his assistants seen Frank Lampard’s finish bounce 18 inches beyond the goal line after hitting the cross bar.

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It was a goal reminiscent of Geoff Hurst’s controversial “ghost goal” during England’s victorious 1966 World Cup final against Germany.

This one prompted England coach Fabio Capello to say: “We made mistakes, but the referee made the biggest one.”

Even Loew conceded that the goal should have been given. “From what I have seen on TV, the ball was over the line,” he said.

Some German fans treated it as a heavenly avenger, 44 years after Hurst was awarded a goal for a ball that many believe did not fully cross the goal line and that should never have been allowed.

Soccer’s rules-making panel agreed last March not to pursue experiments with technology that could help referees judge goal-line decisions.

For England captain Steven Gerrard, it was “bitterly disappointing to go out of the World Cup and especially so to Germany. World Cup-wise, it’s probably over for a few of us.”

No amount of controversy could disguise England’s poor performance — it was the most lopsided England loss in a World Cup.

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