Commerzbank Stadion, Frankfurt, 15.06.2005
Kurányi 17., Mertesacker 23., Ballack pen 60., Podolski 88. / Skoko 21., Aloisi 31., 90.+2.
Germany’s opening encounter was against an energetic and enthusiastic Australian side, who gave as good as they got for the entire ninety minutes – making for a exciting spectacle for the 46,466 people in Frankfurt. Kevin Kurányi put the Germans in front after seventeen minutes by deflecting in a long-range Arne Friedrich cross-cum-shot, only to see Josip Skoko reply for the Socceroos four minutes later from a disputed free-kick – awarded after Robert Huth had been penalised outside the area when it was quite clear to everyone but the official that he had been the one on the receiving end. The lanky fullback Per Mertesacker ghosted into the area to pick up a Bernd Schneider pass and smashed in a right-foot shot for the Mannschaft’s second, before a frenetic fifteen-minute spell was capped off when John Aloisi levelled the scores for a second time with a fine left-footed finish that skidded across Oliver Kahn and into the back of the net.
The opening period of the second half saw no let up in the energy shown by both sides, with Germany producing a number of decent chances. Schweinsteiger’s jinking run and long-distance drive forced a fine save from Mark Schwarzer, before the Aussie ‘keeper smothered a Michael Ballack shot and then acrobatically turned a fierce shot from Torsten Frings around the post. Arne Friedrich then embarked on a buccaneering run down the right where after skinning one defender was upended in the box with something of a flourish by Ljubo Miličević – the Paraguayan referee had no hestitation pointing to the spot. Ballack banged home the spot-kick, putting the Mannschaft in front for a third time.
Germany’s fourth was a beauty, engineered by substitutes Fabian Ernst, Sebastian Deisler and Gerald Asamoah. After a neat exchange between Ernst and Deisler in midfield, Ernst’s short pass found Asamoah on the edge of the area. The Schalke man’s cute first-time backheel found Ballack, who charged into the box before cutting back a pass for Lukas Podolski, who swept the ball into the net with typically left-footed aplomb. There was still time for the Socceroos to grab a fourth, as a pass from the edge of the area found Aloisi in a suspiciously offside position from where he beat Kahn at the second attempt.
Seven goals, plenty of chances, dynamic speed and movement from Klinsmann’s side – and perhaps a little bit of defensive naivety. What is certain is that there were far more positives than negatives, and plenty of good things to talk about going into the next match.
Germany: Kahn – Friedrich, Mertesacker, Huth, Hitzlsperger – Schneider (76. Deisler), Frings, Ballack (c), Schweinsteiger (83. Ernst) – Kurányi (68. Asamoah), Podolski
Australia: Schwarzer – Muscat, Moore, Popović (57. McKain), Neill – Emerton, Cahill (74. Culina) – Miličević, Skoko – Aloisi, Chipperfield (82. Thompson)
Referee: Carlos Amarilla (Paraguay)
Assistants: Amelio Andino (Paraguay), Manuel Bernal (Paraguay)
Fourth Official: Mourad Daami (Tunisia)
Yellow Cards: Huth, Schweinsteiger, Friedrich, Ballack / Milicevic
Red Cards: – / –