Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, 14.06.2006
Neuville 90.+1. / –
The exciting 4-2 win in their opening group phase fixture against Costa Rica had got the Nationalmannschaft off to a good start to the tournament, but five days later in Dortmund they would face a far stiffer task against neighbours Poland – a team facing early elimination following a surprise 2-0 defeat at the hands of South American outsiders Ecuador.
Nationaltrainer Jürgen Klinsmann would play the same eleven that had started against the Costa Ricans, though with the returning skipper Michael Ballack replacing Tim Borowski in the four-man midfield. The match would be of added significance for Germany’s strike force of Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski – both of whom would be playing their first match against the land of their birth.
On what was a pleasant evening in front of a packed Westfalenstadion crowd of sixty-five thousand, Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo would get things under way – with the home side in their traditional Schwarz und Weiß and their Polish opponents in their change strip of red shirts, white shorts and red socks.
Substitute Oliver Neuville slides in to meet David Odonkor’s cross and beat Polish ‘keeper Artur Boruc right at the death in Dortmund
If the opening match had provided sparkling excitement and a hatful of spectacular goals, this game would be a dramatic encounter that would stretch and fray the nerves of every German supporter. The Mannschaft had thoroughly dominated the game and could have won it long before the end, but looked set to be denied until that wonderful moment at the death engineered by the two substitutes – with local boy Odonkor praised for his pin-point cross.
Both this result and Ecuador’s 3-0 win over Costa Rica would confirm the elimination of both Poland and the Central Americans, with the final match between Germany and Ecuador determining which team would finish top of the group – with either England or Sweden lying in wait in the second phase.
Germany: Lehmann – Friedrich (63. Odonkor), Mertesacker, Metzelder, Lahm – Schneider, Frings, Ballack (c), Schweinsteiger (77. Borowski) – Klose, Podolski (71. Neuville)
Poland: Boruc – Baszczyński, Bosacki, Bąk, Żewłakow (83. Dudka) – Radomski, Sobolewski – Jeleń (90. Brożek), Smolarek, Krzynówek (77. Lewandowski) – Żurawski
Referee: Luis Medina Cantalejo (Spain)
Assistants: Victoriano Giraldez Carrasco (Spain), Pedro Medina Hernández (Spain)
Fourth Official: Khalil Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia)
Fifth Official: Fathi Arabati (Jordan)
Yellow Cards: Ballack, Odonkor, Metzelder / Krzynówek, Boruc, Sobolewski
Red Cards: – / Sobolewski 75.