Associated Press

Frankfurt, June 19:

Germany and Argentina are in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup. In the eight-team warm-up for next year’s World Cup finals, Germany defeated African champion Tunisia 3-0 on Saturday on a 74th-minute penalty by Michael Ballack and late goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and substitute Mike Hanke. In the other game, Argentina topped Australia 4-2 on three goals by Luciano Figueroa and a penalty by Juan Riquelme. John Aloisi scored both for Australia, giving him four to lead the tournament. With five World Cup titles between them, the two were under pressure to advance. With six points each, Germany and Argentina play on Tuesday in the final group game. The winner of the group will likely avoid Brazil in the semis, who are the favo-urite in Group B. It was an evenly fought match in Cologne until Ballack broke through, taking the focus off new German coach and former star Juergen Klinsmann.

Klinsmann has lost only once in 13 games since taking over eight months ago. He’s installed an up-tempo game, but his defence has been suspect and he’s also been criticised for living in southern California and commuting to Germany. Germany has won the World Cup three times and is always expected to contend. Two-time winner Argentina is in the same spot. The South Americans wasted no time taking control in its match in Nuremberg. Argentina went ahead in the 12th minute on Figueroa’s goal off a series of well-worked passes around the area. Riquelme converted a 32nd-minute penalty to make to 2-0. Singapore referee Shamsul Maidin made the call when Lucas Neill brought down Javier Saviola on the right side of the box. Figueroa broke through again in the 53rd, swiveling from 14 yards and driving a left-footed shot behind goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. After John Aloisi made it 3-2, Figueroa got his third in the 89th, chipping home from close range. The tournament continues to be high-scoring with 25 goals in the first six games — more than four per game. The semi-finals are June on 25 and 26, with the final on June 29.