World Cup 2010 - Glorious Germany crush Argentina
Germany made a lightning start as Thomas Mueller headed home a Bastian Schweinsteiger free-kick inside three minutes and Miroslav Klose added a second-half brace either side of Arne Friedrich's first international goal.
Joachim Loew's side will now be clear favourites for a fourth World Cup title after following up their 4-1 demolition of England with an even more impressive performance against Diego Maradona's outclassed side.
Mueller scored the quickest goal of the World Cup so far after two minutes and 40 seconds to give Germany a dream start.
The Bayern Munich forward, 20, got ahead of Nicolas Otamendi to score his fourth goal of the tournament with a hopelessly static Argentina keeper Sergio Romero only able to get a palm on the ball.
Germany were in complete control in the opening quarter and should have gone two up when Mueller burst into the penalty area and squared to Klose who lofted over the bar from eight yards.
But Germany were always a danger with their breaks at pace and a Lukas Podolski drive just swerved past the far post before Philipp Lahm and Mueller combined to set up Mesut Ozil but he blasted over the crossbar from 20 yards.
Mueller saw a goalbound poke deflected off Nicolas Burdisso on the stroke of half-time but Argentina had their best spell of the match after the interval.
Angel Di Maria's 20-yard effort just faded past the post, a Carlos Tevez volley smacked into the face of Per Mertesacker while Neuer got lucky when a Higuain pull back bounced off his body but only into the path of Sami Khedira.
Neuer also fumbled Higuain's close-range effort but got everything behind shots from Tevez and Di Maria before Germany ensured a trip to Durban for Wednesday's second semi-final in the space of seven second-half minutes.
Klose doubled Germany's advantage after 67 minutes as Mueller hooked the ball through to Podolski whilst on the floor and he squared to the veteran hitman who tapped home from close range with the Argentine defence wide open after Otamendi lunged in.
The third came after a sensational run from the outstanding Schweinsteiger who waltzed past two players from a short corner and pulled back to centre-half Friedrich who smuggled home from close range.
And a fourth goal a minute from time put the icing on Germany's 10th World Cup quarter-final victory in 13 attempts as a lightning break culminated in Ozil crossing to Klose who volleyed home with superb composure.
Klose was earning his 100th cap and with his double moved into joint second-place with Gerd Mueller on the all-time World Cup top scorers list.
He will get a chance to improve on his 14-goal tally in midweek although he will not be joined by Mueller whose suspension for a second yellow card in the tournament was the only sour note for the vibrant Germans.
Argentina v Germany
1st Half Goals 0-1
Shots on Target 7-6
Shots off Target 7-6
Blocked Shots 6-6
Yellow Cards 2-1
Red Cards 0-0
Passing Success 85.8%-79.6%
Tackles Success 62.5%-75.8%
Territorial Advantage 47.2%-52.8%