Germany passes first test with win over Australia

16th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 June 2005, FRANKFURT - Hosts Germany passed their first real test since Juergen Klinsmann was appointed coach after Euro 2004 by overcoming a determined Australia 4-3 in Group A of the Confederations Cup Wednesday night.

16 June 2005

FRANKFURT - Hosts Germany passed their first real test since Juergen Klinsmann was appointed coach after Euro 2004 by overcoming a determined Australia 4-3 in Group A of the Confederations Cup Wednesday night.

"For us it was especially important to start off with a win in the tournament," Klinsmann said after the official opening match of the tournament proved a crowd pleaser while leaving further question marks for home fans over Germany's defence.

After almost a year of friendlies, Klinsmann was relieved his relatively inexperienced side was able to secure their first points under his command.

"The team didn't really know before the game where it stood so there was a bit of tension around.

"Some of the players were a bit nervous, which is normal, but this will give our young team more security and self-confidence."

Captain Michael Ballack, voted man of the match, converted a second half penalty to put the Germans ahead for good after an entertaining first half had ended with two goals apiece.

But they needed Lukas Podolski's insurance goal with two minutes remaining to hold off the brave Aussies, who got a second half injury time goal from John Aloisi.

Germany's Kevin Kuranyi opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a delightful outside-of-the-right-foot re-direction of Arne Friedrich's shot that left Oz keeper Mark Schwarzer no chance.

However, when it seemed that the hosts may overrun their lesser- heralded rivals, a defensive lapse gave the visitors a lifeline. A free-kick from just outside the area was sent skimming under a jumping Germany wall by Josip Skoko, and chagrined goalkeeper Oliver Kahn had no chance as the ball bulged the centre of the net.

Per Mertesacker claimed his first international goal two minutes after that from a corner, but again the team from Down Under equalised through Aloisi's first - a fantastic left-footed blast from a tight angle.

In the second half, Klinsmann's side pushed forward at every opportunity, and it was Arne Friedrich who won a penalty after being knocked by Ljubo Milicevic. Team captain Ballack converted on the hour mark to make it 3-2.

"For the crowd it was a good game, up and down with a lot of pace, but with a lot of mistakes from both sides," said Ballack.

"We played very well going forward but made mistakes in defensive areas," he continued. "It will be difficult if we keep on conceding goals. Then we will have a problem."

After the match, Australia coach Frank Farina disputed Germany's penalty, saying it did not look as if any contact was made on Friedrich.

But "the crucial moment of the game" was the first-half foul by Robert Huth on Aloisi outside the area which led to Australia's free-kick goal. Huth should have been sent off, Farina said.

"It was a goalscoring opportunity, and he was last man. In a situation like this it is not a yellow card, it is a red card," he said.

"I thought we played very good football," said the coach. "We deserved our goals. We showed great character to keep coming back from behind. When you score three goals you normally hope to get something out of the game."

After the first day of action, Germany sit atop the group with three points alongside Argentina, who beat Tunisia 2-1 earlier in Cologne.

Cologne's World Cup Stadium will see the Germans face the African Champions on Saturday 18 June, while Australia will take on Argentina the same day in Nuremberg.

DPA

Subject: German news

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