Germany thumps Australia in group opener
Germany scored two goals in each half and Tim Cahill was sent off as three-time champion Germany beat Australia 4-0 Sunday in Group D of the World Cup.
Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose scored in the first 30 minutes as Australia coach Pim Verbeek’s defensive tactics backfired, and Thomas Mueller and Cacau added the others against an overwhelmed Australian defense.
"We earned respect for ourselves," Klose said. "It was hugely important to win the first game, but nothing is won yet. We’re a young team and we have fun playing."
Cahill was red-carded in the 56th minute for a late challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The dominant win, played in front of 62,660 fans at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, came without injured captain Michael Ballack.
Podolski shot into the roof of the net in the eighth minute when Mesut Oezil passed to Mueller on the right and the young Bayern Munich midfielder cut the ball back. Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer could only deflect the ball on its way in.
Klose doubled the lead when he got in front of Lucas Neill to head a cross from Philipp Lahm powerfully past Schwarzer.
The strike drew him level with Juergen Klinsmann as Germany’s second most prolific World Cup marksman. Gerd Mueller tops the list with 14 goals.
"It was not an easy game for us," Verbeek said. "We tried to make it very difficult for them and use our speed, but we didn’t have the ball in the first 20 minutes."
Any slim hope Australia had of coming back evaporated with Cahill’s sending off. Klose missed two more good chances before Thomas Mueller made it 3-0 in the 68th, dragging the ball back to avoid a lunge from Scott Chipperfield and sending a low shot in off the post.
Cacau rounded off the scoring in the 70th, tapping in from close range just two minutes after coming on as a substitute for Klose.
Hoping to hold out for a draw, Verbeek used Cahill as a forward and packed his midfield. But with Cahill isolated up front instead of controlling the midfield, Australia had no answer to Germany’s swift passing and running game.
Australia only briefly threatened at the start of each half. Cahill had a header blocked in the fourth minute and Richard Garcia’s follow-up shot also was stopped on the German line.
Immediately after the break, Garcia had a good appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Marco Rodriguez when his header hit Per Mertesacker’s arm.
But apart from those fleeting chances, Germany was in total control.
Germany has not lost an opening match in the World Cup since a 2-1 defeat in 1982 against Algeria and the team never looked like losing on a warm evening in Durban.
Earlier Sunday, Asamoah Gyan scored an 85th-minute penalty to give Ghana a 1-0 win over Serbia in the opening Group D match.
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Arne Friedrich, Per Mertesacker, Holger Badstuber, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil (Mario Gomez, 74), Lukas Podolski (Marko Marin, 81), Miroslav Klose (Cacau, 68).
Australia: Mark Schwarzer, Luke Wilkshire, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Scott Chipperfield, Carl Valeri, Vincenzo Grella (Brett Holman, 46), Brett Emerton (Mile Jedinak, 74), Jason Culina, Richard Garcia (Nikita Rukavytsya, 64), Tim Cahill.