Olympiastadion, Berlin, 20.06.2006
Klose 4., 44., Podolski 57. / –
Having won their first two matches, both Germany and Ecuador would already be in the second phase – all that remained was to see things out in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, and determine which of the two would finish in first place in the group.
The Ecuadorians had surpassed all pre-tournament expectations and coach Luis Fernando Suárez knew that his team could throw caution to the wind and have a go at the hosts; Nationaltrainer Jürgen Klinsmann on the other hand knew that nothing less than a third victory would satisfy the increasingly expectatant home supporters – and maintain the momentum that had been slowly building across the country.
Unlike in past tournaments, the German coach would have very few personnel problems to be concerned with. Skipper Michael Ballack had missed the opener against Costa Rica, but overall injury worries were low and the spirit within the camp was high. There would be just one change to the team that has started against Poland, with Robert Huth coming in for centre-back Christoph Metzelder who was on a yellow card.
The stadium was a sea of Schwarz-Rot-Gold flags and the home fans would be in good voice, and on what was a warm and slightly humid afternoon in the German capital over seventy-thousand people would be there to welcome the teams as they made their way out of the tunnel and onto the ground. The Germans would once again take to the field in their traditional outfit, with their South Amercian opponents kitted out in yellow shirts, blue shorts and red socks.
Miroslav Klose slips the ball past Cristian Mora to score his and Germany’s second against Ecuador
Lukas Podolski celebrates the Mannschaft’s third goal with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Bernd Schneider
With three wins from three, Germany emerged with the maximum points tally in a major tournament group phase for the first time since Mexico in 1970. Although both sides knew they were through and chose to conserve themselves for further challenges to come after the Germans had scored their third goal, it would be an easy game for the Jürgen Klinsmann’s side who never looked in danger at any point.
Later that evening Group B would come to a conclusion, and Germany would know the identity of their second phase opponents: Sweden, a team that the Mannschaft had beaten en route to their victory on home soil in 1974. Some considered it an omen.
The momentum had started to build, and people across Germany had started to dream. Was this the beginning of the Sommermärchen?
Germany: Lehmann – Friedrich, Mertesacker, Huth, Lahm – Schneider (73. Asamoah), Frings (66. Borowski), Ballack (c), Schweinsteiger – Klose (66. Neuville), Podolski
Ecuador: Mora – de la Cruz, Guagua, Espinoza, Ambrossi – Valencia (63. Lara), Méndez, Edwin Tenorio, Ayovi (68. Urrutia) – Borja (46. Benítez), Kaviedes
Referee: Valentin Ivanov (Russian Federation)
Assistants: Nikolai Gobulev (Russian Federation), Evgeni Volnin (Russian Federation)
Fourth Official: Kevin Stott (United States)
Fifth Official: Chris Strickland (United States)
Yellow Cards: Borowski / Valencia
Red Cards: – / –
First Phase Group A Table
Other Results: Poland 0-2 Ecuador; Ecuador 3-0 Costa Rica; Costa Rica 1-2 Poland.