MILAN, JULY 1 -- The offense was clicking but not scoring, which often proves disastrous for West Germany.

Not today, because the defense was impenetrable. The West Germans shut down World Cup scoring leader Tomas Skuhravy, got a penalty kick goal from Lothar Matthaeus and beat Czechoslovakia, 1-0.

That put the West Germans into the final four of the World Cup for a record ninth time.

"Overall, it was good teamwork," Coach Franz Beckenbauer said. "The team has been able to adapt to any positions and events. Even in the heat, which we are not used to, the team has responded. You must do that in such a competition as the World Cup and we have been able to do it."

This time, the West Germans had to do it with defense because Czechoslovakian goalie Jan Stejskal and his defenders were keeping the ball out of the Czechoslovak net. Three times, Stejskal had teammates clear the ball off the goal line. He also made several dynamic saves.

He was helpless on the goal, however.

Matthaeus scored his fourth World Cup goal in the 24th minute after brilliant work by striker Juergen Klinsmann.

After pressuring throughout the opening minutes, Klinsmann first rode off high tackles by Ivan Hasek and Lubos Kubik, then rushed into the penalty area, where he was sandwiched by Jozef Chovanec and Frantisek Straka.

Referee Helmut Kohl of Austria called a penalty kick, and Matthaeus blasted it home.

"He has been our best man so far," Beckenbauer said. "He has had a decisive role in all matches, while some of his teammates alternated good moves in one game with wrong moves in another."

West Germany dominated throughout the match and Czechoslovakia's chances to score were reduced further when forward Lubomir Moravcik was sent off with a second yellow card in the 69th minute.

Earlier, a frustrated Moravcik flicked a shoe off his foot and in the general direction of the referee.

"A pity," Czechoslovak Coach Jozef Venglos said. "It was his inexperience."

The man advantage seemed to energize the Czechoslovaks, however. Reserve Vaclav Nemecek, alone at the right side of the box, spun a wide shot past the outside post. A shot by Ivo Knoflicek also went wide, in the final minute.

"I don't understand how we played worse against a team of 10 men," Beckenbauer said. " . . . The important thing is that we made the semifinals."

West Germany's defense, as well as its offense, saw to that.

"The Germans moved the ball very well and players such as {Pierre} Littbarski and Klinsmann kept control of the game," Venglos said. "They are a strong team that will test any other team to its limits."

The next team will be England, which beat Cameroon by 3-2 in overtime to fill the last semifinal berth.