Frankenstadion, Nürnberg, 25.06.2005
Podolski 23., Ballack pen 45.+3. / Adriano 21., 76., Ronaldinho pen 43.
Jürgen Klinsmann’s free-scoring Germany side lined up in Nürnberg for their semi-final against Brazil with an increasing sense of confidence and expectation, with Michael Ballack returning to the starting line-up. Jens Lehmann was back in goal, though Bastian Schweinsteiger had been ruled out having picked up two yellow cards. Brazil had been defeated in their first phase by Mexico, and it pretty clear that Klinsmann believed that they were there for the taking.
Once again Germany started brightly, with both Ballack and Sebastian Deisler looking particularly sharp as the team sought to add to the nine goals they had scored in their previous three games. During the first twenty minutes almost all of the action had taken place in the Brazilian half, but all of this pressure failed to yield anything on the scoreboard. Cue then the opener for Brazil, courtesy of a long-range free-kick from Adriano that took a deflection off the German wall, leaving Lehmann rooted to the spot and completely helpless.
Germany were back on the attack straight from the kick-off, with Fabian Ernst testing Dida with a speculative effort from the touchline. It would have been a Brazilian-style goal, but the ‘keeper somehow managed to backpedal and palm the ball round for a corner. Deisler swung in the corner from the right, where it was met by Lukas Podolski who easily freed himself from his marker to head the ball firmly into the back of the net. Two minutes, two goals, 1-1.
As the first half drew to a close the game saw yet another crazy two-minute spell. With Adriano in the German box but seemingly going nowhere, Robert Huth bizarrely decided to clamber all over him, giving the Chilean official no choice but to blow for a penalty. Ronaldino – who as a less hirsute youngster had failed to beat Lehmann from the spot in the 1999 Confederations Cup – made no mistake, driving the ball hard and low to the ‘keeper’s right. Germany took things on the chin and still continued to press, and were immediately rewarded with an Elfmeter of their own in injury time when Robert Huth was hauled down by Roque Junior. Dida made a great effort in diving the right way, but Ballack’s third spot-kick in as many starts had both pace and precision.
The opening spell of the second half so no real let-up by either side, though there were to be no more crazy goal exchanges. As in the first half, much of the play was made by Klinsmann’s side – though the neat moves in midfield failed to create any real opening. In what was Brazil’s first genuine attacking spell of the half, the inevitable happened. Picking up the ball outside the area, Adriano muscled past Robert Huth before drilling a left-footed shot past the diving Lehmann. to score what proved to be the winning goal. It was a fine finish, but Huth should have done a lot better to close his man down.
Brazil went close to adding to theit tally in the closing stages, as Robinho scuffed a shot straight and Lehmann and substitute Cicinho forced a good reflex save from the German ‘keeper.
Germany continued to fight hard and continued to chase the game right to the final whistle, but in the end it was not quite to be for Jürgen’s Jungs as Brazil progressed to a final encounter against their old rivals Argentina. The Mannschaft were not completely done yet however – there would be one more goalfest to come in the third-place playoff against Mexico.
Germany: Lehmann – Friedrich, Mertesacker, Huth, Schneider – Deisler (83. Hanke), Frings, Ballack (c), Ernst (87. Borowski) – Kurányi (63. Asamoah), Podolski
Brazil: Dida – Maicon (46. Cicinho), Lúcio, Roque Júnior, Gilberto – Emerson, Zé Roberto – Ronaldinho, Kaká (78. Renato) – Robinho (87. Júlio Baptista), Adriano
Referee: Carlos Chandia (Chile)
Assistants: Cristian Julio (Chile), Mario Vargas (Chile)
Fourth Official: Peter Prendergast (Jamaica)
Yellow Cards: Deisler, Ernst / Roque Junior, Cicinho, Emerson, Adriano
Red Cards: – / –