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Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Germans remain perfect

Hosts improve to 3-0 with shutout win against Ecuador

June 21, 2006

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— The strikers are scoring, the defense is holding and Germany is off to its best World Cup start in 36 years.

Miroslav Klose scored twice to help the World Cup host beat Ecuador 3-0 on Tuesday. The victory gave Germany the maximum nine points and first place in Group A. Lukas Podolski also scored for Germany, which last won its first three matches at a World Cup in 1970.

Even better than the prolific offense - eight goals in the first round - is a once-vulnerable defense that has not conceded a goal in two straight games.

"Our goal was to win the group and we achieved this," Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "We are looking forward to the knockout stage. Our strikers are in really good shape, they are working hard and scoring. But it will be more difficult to score in later rounds, so they will have to work even harder."

Both teams were assured of advancing to the second round before the kickoff.

Klose, who now has nine World Cup goals, finished strong German pressure early in the match when he scored in the fourth minute.

"Miro has been in great form for months," Klinsmann said of Klose, who led the Bundesliga last season with 25 goals.

England 2, Sweden 2

Cologne, Germany - England finally got a result against Sweden it can live with.

No, not a win - that has been too much to ask for. The tie was enough for the English to win Group B at the World Cup and set up a second-round game against Ecuador on Sunday in Stuttgart.

It also means Sweden has to face three-time champion and World Cup host Germany in Munich in the second round Saturday.

Poland 2, Costa Rica 1

Hanover, Germany - Poland's first 2006 World Cup victory again came too late. Bartosz Bosacki scored twice in a Group A game between two teams already eliminated from the tournament.

Poland also won its last game at the 2002 World Cup, when it beat the United States 3-1 in South Korea after dropping its first two group games.

Paraguay 2, Trinidad and Tobago 0

Kaiserslautern, Germany - This own-goal went in Paraguay's favor and knocked Trinidad and Tobago right out of the World Cup.

Brent Sancho headed a ball past his own goalkeeper in the 25th minute and Trinidad and Tobago never recovered.

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