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Germany thrash England 4-1 in classic game, reach WC quarters

Germany crushed England 4-1 in the most thrilling match of the World Cup so far today as two second-half goals from Thomas Mueller killed off the clash between the two classic soccer rivals.
By HT Correspondent | Reuters, Bloemfontein
UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2010 02:28 AM IST

Germany, fuelled by a second half double from Thomas Mueller, thrashed long-standing rivals England 4-1 in a controversy-filled encounter on Sunday to book a spot in the last eight of the World Cup.

Slick counter-attacking combined with clinical finishing saw the Germans overwhelm England’s shaky-looking defence and put Germany through to a quarter-final clash against either Argentina or Mexico who play later on Sunday.

“Against England you’ll give up goal chances at some point. They have so many good players,” Mueller said.

“We had some luck and took the lead. After we went 3-1 up, we improved and the match was soon over after that.” Striker Miroslav Klose, who scored Germany’s first, praised his “first-rate team”. “I was very impressed with the performance today. In this match we were on top from the start, we were totally into the match and we deserved to win,” he said.

“We’ll see how we do in the next match. Our goal is to get the semi-finals. We’ll see what happens from there.” Germany fully deserved their victory but the game will also be remembered for a controversial decision late in the first half which denied England an equaliser with the game at 2-1.

A shot from midfielder Frank Lampard struck the crossbar and the ball bounced well behind the goal line, but the referee waved play on.

“It was the most important part of the game,” England coach Fabio Capello said of the decision. “We made some mistakes and the referee made one big mistake but Germany played a good game. Little things decide the result. We played well up to 2-1 but after the third goal we were disappointed.”

Frantic

In a frantic first half Germany took a deserved 2-0 lead, repeatedly exposing their opponents’ defensive shortcomings.

Klose, back from a one-match suspension, snatched the lead in the 20th minute, catching the English defence napping and chasing down German keeper Manuel Neuer’s deep goal kick to slot home his 12th goal in World Cup tournaments.

They could have added another just before the half hour mark but Klose was denied by keeper David James.

Striker Lukas Podolski made amends for his teammate’s miss in the 32nd minute with a fierce low drive after a sublime combination of passes via Mueller and Mesut Ozil to give them a two-goal cushion.

Lampard failed to pull one back minutes later, firing at Neuer from close range and Philipp Lahm clearing in front of goal. But Matthew Upson did get on the score sheet, heading in a Steven Gerrard cross, with Neuer completely missing the ball, to cut deficit in 37th minute.

England should have been awarded a second goal only a minute later when Lampard’s shot bounced off the bar and well behind the goal line but Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda waved to play on.

England came out fighting in the second half and hit the bar with a fierce Lampard free kick seven minutes after the restart but Mueller ended their hopes with two goals in three minutes to cap a memorable performance for youngster.

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