Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 in World Cup opener
Striker Miroslav Klose fired in 2 goals to inspire his team to a dominating victory.Schedule | Teams | Interviews | Photos | Quizindia Updated: Jun 10, 2006 03:22 IST
Germany responded to the pressure as the World Cup's host nation with a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica in the tournament opener on Friday, a performance that could inspire the team the rest of the way.
Germany captain Michael Ballack missed the game with an injury but striker Miroslav Klose celebrated his 28th birthday by scoring two goals. Paulo Wanchope also had two for Costa Rica, while Philipp Lahm and Torsten Frings added the others for Germany.
"That's how I imagined this day more or less," Klose said. "Every opener is difficult and we are pleased that we won. The goals we conceded were own fault. We must recover better after losing possession."
The game had the most goals since opening matches were introduced in 1966. Germany stayed true to its style under coach Juergen Klinsmann - creating many chances, scoring goals and playing recklessly in the defence.
Klinsmann said he was delighted for the fans who saw six goals in the opening game, "but we would have preferred not to have given up any."
"We wanted to play well and get the fans involved. We were a little bit nervous. We made some mistakes, but they happen," Klinsmann said. "We can draw a lot of positives from this game. We are happy to have away with our first three points." Lahm, a defender still wearing a special brace after surgery on his left elbow three weeks ago, curved a shot from the edge of the box in the sixth minute to put Germany ahead.
Lahm cut in from the left and got the space he needed when Luis Marin slipped, leaving Lahm plenty of time to aim his shot into upper corner.
"We can't keep conceding so many goals," Lahm said. "I was lucky to hit the ball just right on my goal.
"Ballack can now heal in peace," he said.
Ballack told a German newspaper that he had recovered from his right-calf injury but the team doctors advised against using him. Germany piled on the pressure after Lahm's goal and Bernd Schneider fired high from close range, but Costa Rica stunned the hosts in the 12th when Wanchope beat the German offside trap and coolly slipped the ball past goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
Germany has well-documented problems in its young and inexperienced defence and its shortcomings were exposed again - while most of Germany's back line was signaling offside with their raised arms, Arne Friedrich was caught behind Wanchope. It didn't take Germany long to recover.
Schneider broke through on the right in the 17th minute and passed the ball to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who sent a crisp pass to the far post for Klose to knock in.
In the 61st, Klose's header was saved by goalkeeper Jose Porras, but the Bundesliga's leading scorer fired the rebound into the roof of the net.
The Germans couldn't relax, however, after Wanchope's second in the 73rd.
He again beat the offside trap when a through pass caught Germany central defenders Per Mertesacker and Christoph Metzelder off guard. Wanchope was suddenly alone and shrugged off a late challenge by Friedrich to beat Lehmann for the second time.
But Frings settled the issue when he drilled a swerving shot from at least 25 meters (yards).
The capacity crowd of 66,000 gave the team a standing ovation.