Controversy in Germany’s 4-1 demolition of England (Night Lead)

June 28th, 2010 - 12:01 am ICT by IANS  

Bloemfontein, June 27 (DPA) Germany demolished England 4-1 Sunday in the first titanic clash of the 2010 World Cup, one that will long be remembered for an England “ghost goal” that will reignite the debate over the use of technology in football.
Despite being by far the younger side, Germany showed plenty of maturity and, in the words of coach Joachim Loew, “determination”, as they comfortably won in Bloemfontein courtesy of goals from Miroslav Klose - his 50th for Germany - Lukas Podolski, and a brace from Thomas Mueller.

Germany will now play either Argentina or Mexico in a quarter-final match in Cape Town on Saturday.

“We’ve shown that we are a classy team,” said Klose. “Our goal was the semi-final and we want to reach that goal.”

England were on target with defender Matt Upson and could have gone 2-2 in the 38th minute had Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda and his assistants seen Frank Lampard’s finish bounce comfortably beyond the goal line after hitting the crossbar.

It was a goal reminiscent of Geoff Hurst’s controversial “ghost goal” during England’s victorious 1966 World Cup final against Germany in Wembley, and one that prompted England coach Fabio Capello to say: “Germany is a big team and they played well. We made mistakes but the referee made the biggest one.”

Even Loew conceded that the goal should have been given.

“From what I have seen on TV the ball was over the line,” Loew said.

But no amount of controversy could not disguise England’s poor performance on the day and one that could spell the end of the Italian’s reign at the helm of England.

“I want to speak with the (Football Association) chairman to decide my future. I don’t know if he has confidence in me or not,” Capello said.

For England captain Steven Gerrard, it was “bitterly disappointing to go out of the World Cup and especially so to Germany. “World Cup- wise, it’s probably over for a few of us.”

Prior to the game, Loew was relieved to have influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger recover from a thigh injury and Klose back from his one-match ban to take up his position as the only striker.

Capello, meanwhile, fielded an unchanged team from the side that won its final group game against Slovenia, with Tottenham Hotspur’s Jerman Defoe playing alongside Wayne Rooney up front.

The start was evenly-matched, with a fairly comfortable England holding on to possession and Germany seeming quite happy to take the pace out of the game.

Indeed, the first chance could have gone England’s way, but Rooney was judged to be offside by Larrionda before he could head for goal. On the subsequent manoeuvre, Mesut Oezil found himself in front of the England goal, but keeper David James did well to block the German’s finish with his legs.

And after an unpretentious long-distance rifle from Sami Khedira, and a Lampard free-kick that smashed against the German wall, came the first goal of the day: German keeper Manuel Neuer kicked the ball all the way to the German attack, where it was picked up by Klose, who wrestled with Upson and used the tip of his right foot to send the ball into the back of the net.

It was Klose’s 50th goal in 99 caps for Germany and his 12th in three World Cups.

From then onwards, a petrified England looked like they might capitulate any minute, with the German forwards slicing through their defence like a hot knife through molten butter.

And it was only a matter of time before the second goal came: a combination between Klose and Mueller saw the ball reach Podoloski, unmarked on the other side of goal, who had no problem firing it under James’ legs and into goal.

But just when it looked like it was all over for England, the Three Lions somehow found the strength within themselves to get back into the game.

And in the 37th, a Gerrard cross was met by an imperious jump from Upson, who redeemed himself for his earlier mistake with Klose to head in England’s goal.

But it was only the prelude of the most controversial World Cup episode in decades: a Lampard rifle from outside the box hitting the inside of the crossbar and bouncing comfortably over the line, unseen by Larrionda and his assistants.

It was a gross mistake, one that some German fans treated as a heavenly avenger, 44 years after Hurst was awarded a goal for a ball that many believe did not fully cross the goal line and that should never have been allowed.

England were in shock, but they kept up the pressure after the break. Lampard, however, was again unlucky to hit the crossbar off a free kick in the 52nd.

In the 64th, Capello brought on Joe Cole for James Milner.

But it was soon all over for England, as Schweinsteiger and Mueller completed a fast counter-attack for Germany’s third in the 67th and Mueller was again on target to make it 4-1 against a non-existent England three minutes later.

“We weren’t nervous after their disallowed goal. You cannot play for 90 minutes against a team like England without them having good chances,” Mueller said.

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