Beware the German machine

2010-06-14 00:00

THE Germans are here. And if you didn’t know, just ask the startled Socceroos who were trampled over with alarming ease at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last night in a Group D clash that ended 4-0.

Supposedly crippled by the loss of Michael Ballack in the run-up to the tournament, the Germans showed no signs of ineptness as they stroked the ball confidently across the park, before breaking with devastating effect when the holes appeared in the Aussie backline.

To be fair, the Australians didn’t help their cause by employing a suicidally high line. The Germans simply gobbled up the vast spaces between the last man and the desperately over-worked Mark Schwarzer.

The score could have easily been half a dozen by the break, but a combination of loose finishing and last ditch defence saw the Germans take a two-nil lead into the tunnel.

The Aussies themselves could have had the lead as early as the fourth minute, but Richard Garcia’s snap shot from a corner was well blocked by German skipper Phillip Lahm.

Miroslav Klose then had a great chance to add to his tally of 10 World Cup career goals. Put clean through by Lahm, the Bayern Munich man shot straight at Schwarzer.

But the sea of German support didn’t have much longer to wait to cheer, as Lukas Podolski rifled in Thomas Mueller’s cross for the opener, capping a frenetic start to World Cup action in Durban.

Garcia had another speculative shot on 20 minutes, but it was all German efficiency at the other end.

Mueller was only a whisker away from another fine ball from the industrious Lahm, before Klose somehow missed a sitter from five yards.

A minute later, though, the German spearhead had his goal as Lahm sent in a delicious cross just in front of Schwarzer, and Klose nipped in to double the lead.

The Germans then went on to auto-pilot, and both Mesut Oezil and Sami Khedira should have done better after yet more great service from Lahm.

After the break, the Aussie woes continued. A miserable night was confirmed by the sending off of Tim Cahill, who was admittedly unlucky to get a straight red for a clumsy challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Cahill had been anonymous in last night’s affair, but his predatory instincts will be sorely missed in upcoming must-win games against Ghana and Serbia.

Mueller capped off his fine display with a composed finish on 68 minutes, before Cacau found the net with his first touch a few minutes later.

For the Aussies, this was a chastening experience.

They had come in with hopes of stifling the Germans, but instead caved in under the persistent pressure. Their legion of fans, who have turned Kingsmead into a mini-Melbourne, went silent for most of the second period.

This just wasn’t cricket.

As for the Germans, this was as emphatic a warning as they could give. That they were so wasteful in front of goal illustrates why they must now be rated as the darkest of horses for the title.

Ballack? Who needs him?


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