Fastest Goals and Florida Flattery

The two teams walk out to a sparsely-populated stadium in Boca Raton, where most of the support appears to be for the yellow-shirted South Americans. It is a cloudy and somewhat humid afternoon in Florida, with a slight breeze and a few drops of rain in the air.

It is the second meeting between the two sides, the first being in Berlin during the 2006 World Cup which saw the Germans stroll to a 3-0 victory at the group stage. While German Nationaltrainer Jogi Löw is fielding what is essentially a C Team missing everyone from Champions’ League finalists FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund, Reinaldo Rueda’s Ecuador are coming into this friendly on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run that has seen them challenge Argentina at the top of the South American qualifying group.

In the absence of much of the senior squad the skipper for the day is defender Per Mertesacker, while centurion Lukas Podolski also starts. At the other end of the experience scale there are debuts for Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Sidney Sam and SC Freiburg’s Max Kruse, while Schalke 04’s Roman Neustädter makes his first start for the senior side.

1 min. American referee Ricardo Salazar gets things underway, with the Germans in their traditional Schwarz und Weiß and their opponents in yellow shirts and blue shorts.

1 min. Right from the kick-off, Podolski takes advantage of a defensive lapse and rolls the ball past Ecuadorian ‘keeper Máximo Banguera. It has taken just 9.07 seconds for the Mannschaft to take the lead. 1-0.

2 mins. The Germans are almost in again but this time the Ecuadorian defence is able to clear the danger.

4 mins. Sam finds space in the centre of the pitch, and has time to roll the ball through to the fast-advancing Lars Bender, who flicks the ball past Banguera with the outside of his right foot to double Germany’s lead. 2-0.

10 mins. The Germans are well on top, but there are signs that the South Americans are starting to settle down.

17 mins. There’s more German pressure and movement down the left, as Marcell Jansen and Kruse combine beautifully to set up Podolski who sets himself up nicely before rolling the ball low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. With what is his 46th goal in the Nationaltrikot, Podolski now moves into fifth place on the all-time German scorers list ahead of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. 3-0.

23 mins. Germany press nicely down the reight flank this time, as Schalke pair Benedikt Höwedes and Julian Draxler combine nicely.

24 mins. It’s turning into something of a mickey-take now. Draxler finds Bender outside the opposition box, and the defensive midfielder has plenty of time to hammer the ball past the hapless of Banguera who makes a complete hash of things. 4-0.

27 mins. There is so much space now for Jogi Löw’s side, and there are surely more goals to come.

30 mins. Jefferson Montero provides Ecuador’s best moment of the match, as hits the crossbar with René Adler struggling.

33 mins. Felipe Caicedo picks up the ball on the right of the German penalty area and turns Heiko Westermann inside out, but his left-footed effort is not enough to beat Adler, who safely collects.

35 mins. Caicedo appears to have done himself some damage during that last attack, and he walks off the field to be replaced by Renato Ibarra.

37 mins. The pacy and enthusiastic Kruse shows great pace and movement once again, but is just unable to get the killer ball across into the danger zone with Podolski lurking.

39 mins. Löw shows a grimace for the first time as Ecuador are able to find space down the right. Lars Bender is down holding his ankle after a sharp challenge from Antonio Valencia.

42 mins. Ecuador win a free kick out on the right, but Ibarra sends the ball harmlessly for a German goal kick.

43 mins. A defensive mistake allows Valencia to have his side’s first decent shot on goal. There’s a slight deflection, but Adler dives down to his left to make an impressive looking save.

44 mins. What has been a period of defensive sloppiness by the Mannschaft results in the inevitable. Westermann and Janssen are between them unable to get the ball away, there are a couple of swift passes by the men in the yellow shirts, and Valencia smacks the ball past Adler to get his side on the scoreboard. There’s a slight deflection off Bender. 4-1.

45 mins. The American referee whistles for the end of what has been an exciting and at times rather bizarre first half.

Germany have looked inventive and dangerous going forward, but coach will have plenty to say about the defence and Ecuador’s goal. Podolski’s opener at 9.07 seconds is – just – the second-fastest international goal of all time, after Davide Gualtieri’s infamous 8.3 second strike for minnows San Marino against England in 1993.

46 mins. Germany get the second half underway.

48 mins. It has been a slower start to the second for the Mannschaft, and the first half chance goes to their opponents who send the ball high over the crossbar.

49 mins. Neustädter gives the ball away, and Cristian Benítez unleashes a right-footed effort that is easily collected by Adler.

50 mins. Ecuador win a corner out on the right, and Valencia gets a sharp shot in that is punched away by Adler.

51 mins. Sam breaks fast for the Nationalelf, finding Kruse out on the right. The fast-running Freiburg man is unable to find the Sam with the return ball however, and Banguera collects.

53 mins. Sam is charging down the pitch at pace again, and send in a lovely reverse ball with his right foot towards Draxler who has made his way into the opposition penalty area. The teenager appears to be caught from behind just as he is about to shoot, and the ball balloons high over the bar. Could very well have been a penalty there.

56 mins. Draxler is still feeling the effect of the earlier challenge, and is replaced by Werder Bremen’s Aaron Hunt who makes his first appearance in the Nationaltrikot since 2010.

57 mins. Mertesacker is on hand to hoof the ball away for a corner as Ecuador break quickly down the right. The Eckball is poor and quickly cleared.

58 mins. There’s certainly more life about Ecuador’s play now, and Montero sends a wild shot well wide of the target.

59 mins. It’s Adler’s turn to be sloppy now, as his poor clearance gifts the ball back to the South Americans. Ibarra fires in a firm long-distance left-footed effort that is well parried by the German ‘keeper, who then flies to his left to clear the danger for a second time to deny Montero.

60 mins. Ecuador make a double change as Pedro Quiñónez comes on for Christian Noboa and Joao Rojas replaces Cristian Benítez.

63 mins. Neustädter is dispossessed, and Ecuador should really have had their second. Montero is unable to get his shot away, and the ball falls to substitute Rojas whose shot is well blocked by Westermann with Adler completely out of position.

66 mins. The disappointing Neustädter is replaced by Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Reinartz, who like Aaron Hunt is making his first international appearance since 2010.

67 mins. It’s another change for Ecuador as Jorge Guagua comes on for Gabriel Achilier.

68 mins. It’s a case of handbags at ten paces as Podolski reacts to a sharp challenge and gets a gentle slap around the face and a booking for his pains.

70 mins. Sidney Sam’s solid debut comes to an end as he is replaced by Leverkusen team mate André Schürrle.

73 mins. With just under twenty minutes to go this German reserve side are looking good for a win, but after what has been a poor second half performance the result is looking increasingly flattering.

75 mins. Reinartz is booked for a clumsy foul.

78 mins. Germany cannot get a touch at the moment as Ecuador are working things around nicely. The impressive Ibarra cracks a right-footed effort from the edge of the box, which Adler touches behind.

79 mins. After a blistering opening spell Max Kruse has been quiet, and makes way for Hamburger SV wingback Dennis Aogo who is back in the national team for the first time since February 2012.

81 mins. Ecuador make another change as Marlon de Jesús replaces Montero.

83 mins. De Jesús goes down easily under a challenge from Westermann, and the Hamburg defender is booked. The resulting free-kick comes flying in from Walter Ayoví, and Adler helps the ball into his own net. Jogi Löw is not impressed, but Ecuador probably deserved that goal. 4-2.

87 mins. Now some idiot comes running onto the pitch.

89 mins. Wearing the famous number thirteen shirt, another Müller – FSV Mainz 05’s Nicolai – makes his international debut as Podolski leaves the field.

90+1 mins. 1. FC Nürnberg’s Phillip Wollscheid becomes the fourth German debutant as he comes on for Lars Bender.

90+2 mins. Quiñónez gets in a shot, which skids low past the right-hand post.

90+3 mins. The rain is now hammering down, and the final whistle is blown.

After what was a lighting fast start out of the blocks where the opposition were caught completely cold, this has to go down as a slightly disappointing performance from Joachim Löw’s side. Sloppiness in defence and a complete lack of ideas in the second half made the 4-2 scoreline a completely flattering one, and were it not for a few moments of misfortune the result could have been a lot closer.

v Ecuador, FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, 29.05.2013

4-2 (4-1)
Podolski 1., 17., L. Bender 4., 24. / Valencia 44., Ayoví 84.

Germany: Adler – Höwedes, Mertesacker (c), Westermann, Jansen – Neustädter (66. Reinartz), L. Bender (90+1. Wollscheid*) – Sam* (69. Schürrle), Draxler (57. Hunt), Podolski (89. N. Müller*) – Kruse* (79. Aogo)

Ecuador: Banguera – Paredes, Achilier (67. Guagua), Erazo, W. Ayoví (c) – Noboa (60. Quiñónez), Castillo (70. Saritama) – Valencia, Montero (81. de Jesús) – Benítez (60. Rojas), F. Caicedo (35. Ibarra)

Referee: Ricardo Salazar (United States)
Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Sean Hurd (United States)
Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu (Canada)

Yellow Cards: Podolski 68., Reinartz 75., Westermann 83. / –
Red Cards: – / –

Attempts on Target: – / –
Attempts off Target: – / –
Corners: – / –
Fouls Committed: – / –

Attendance: 5,000

* Full international debut

Fastest Goals and Florida Flattery

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