GERMANY (4) vs AUSTRALIA (0)
WHO was it who warned never to write off the Germans?
Despite the absence of the injured Michael Ballack, the three-time champions made light of their mediocre tag to give a real signal of intent in Durban last night.
Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose continued their remarkable scoring records with a goal apiece before Thomas Mueller and Cacau wrapped up the most impressive performance of this World Cup so far.
They were however, helped by the harsh 55th-minute sending off of Everton’s Tim Cahill, whose tackle of Bastian Schweinsteiger was a booking at best. Joachim Low’s side made their intentions known early, Klose denied by Aussie keeper Mark Schwarzer before Podolski rifled in the opening on 27 minutes after another sweeping attacking move.
Klose didn’t have to wait long to net his 11th goal in World Cup finals, heading home Philipp Lahm’s cross before star man Mesut Ozil missed a one-on-one chance his invention deserved.
If the match wasn’t yet ended as a contest, Cahill’s red card certainly did, and the Germans exploited the extra space to great effect.
Mueller rifled home a third off the post before Brazilian-born substitute Cacau netted his first goal for his adopted country, tapping in from Ozil’s centre.
For Australia, it was a long night, but the Socceroos almost carved out a late consolation they scarcely deserved – substitute Nikita Rukavytsya volleying straight at keeper Manuel Neuer.