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Germany victorious on pitch and TV

AFP/The Local · 7 Sep 2008, 11:39

Published: 07 Sep 2008 11:39 GMT+02:00

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More than seven million people watched Joachim Löw’s men take on the clearly inferior Liechtensteiners and rout them, as expected.

Not surprisingly, the Liechtenstein team were what Löw described as “defence-minded” during the match, and managed to hold the Germans to just 1-0 for the first half before crumbling in the second half.

Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski led the charge with two goals, after which it was all one-way traffic.

Germany now faces stiffer opposition from Group 4 in the shape of Finland on Wednesday.

But on the same night that France lost to Austria, and Italy and England struggled against minor opposition, Löw was happy with his side’s response to Liechtenstein’s “defensive” approach.

“It was clear that we wanted to win and have no problems securing the victory,” he said.

“Liechtenstein started strongly, but it was good for our confidence to know we can play well against defence-minded opposition.”

Liechtenstein’s Swiss coach Hans-Peter Zaugg admitted his side’s resistance broke when Germany scored two goals in as many minutes on the 65 minute mark.

He said, “They deserved victory. We played a good first half and our goal had been to continue that for another 45 minutes, but we couldn’t and the goal on 65 minutes broke our morale.”

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Simon Rolfes stabbed his shot home on 65 minutes before Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger rifled in a second goal on 66 minutes.

Ex-Aston Villa man Thomas Hitzlsperger’s free-kick took a deflection into the net on 76 minutes, before Schalke 04 defender Heiko Westermann smashed home a header on 86 minutes.

“It’s a great feeling to have scored my first international goal,” said Westermann who was winning only his fifth cap. In the first half, we needed one or two more goals, but in the end the result was clear.”

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With two goals to his credit, Podolski gave the perfect reply to Bayern Munich manager Uli Hoeness who accused him of “whining” last week after the striker complained about being left on the bench by his club.

“I always enjoy playing for the national team and always give everything I have,” said the 23-year-old who has now scored 30 goals and won 56 caps for Germany. "I feel good in the team, I have the confidence of the coach. Now we have put down the foundation stone and we have to build on that in Finland.”

Euro 2008 semi-finalists Russia are Germany’s main rivals in the group and the two sides will square off in Dortmund on October 11. Only the group winners automatically qualify for South Africa.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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