Sunday, June 02, 2002

Germany 8, Saudi Arabia 0

Associated Press Writer

Germany's Miroslav Klose, center, rises high to head his side's 2nd goal past Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al Deayea (1). Klose scored a hat-trick - all on headers - as Germany won the match 8-0.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        SAPPORO, Japan — Germany got the good start it wanted in the World Cup.

        The three-time champions routed Saudi Arabia 8-0 Saturday and immediately seized control of Group E.

        In the other Group E game, Ireland tied Cameroon 1-1. Germany plays Ireland on June 5 and Cameroon on June 11.

        “I'm very satisfied with our performance,” German coach Rudi Voeller said. “There was never been any doubt who the winner would be. The team was amazingly focused, everyone was motivated.”

        Striker Miroslav Klose scored three goals as Germany posted its largest margin of victory in the competition's history. The score was also the most lopsided World Cup victory since Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1 in Spain in 1982.

        Klose scored on headers in the 20th, 25th and 68th minutes. The 23-year-old now has 11 goals in just 13 matches for Germany.

        Michael Ballack scored on another header in the 40th minute, Carsten Jancker scored just before the end of the first half and defender Thomas Linke made it 6-0 in the 73rd. Oliver Bierhoff scored in the 83rd and Bernd Schneider converted a free kick in the 90th.

        “It was an important three points, but we can't overrate it. We have to keep playing just like this,” Ballack said.

        “They gave up after 3-0, 4-0 and the easy goals came, but first you have to come out and play aggressively to make something like that happen.”

        The Saudis, playing in their third straight World Cup finals, struggled from the outset and failed to produce any serious scoring chances.

        Germany's plan of rushing down the flanks and sending crosses to Klose worked to perfection.

        Klose was coming off a three-goal performance in Germany's last international match before traveling to Japan, a 6-2 rout of Austria. The Polish-born player also scored 16 times for Kaiserslautern in the Bundesliga this season.

        “We have to stay firmly on the ground, we had a great performance against a weak opponent,” Voeller said. “But you could see the boys wanted it, everybody took responsibility, they had great spirit.”

        Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed al-Deayea made his 169th international appearance, leaving him one short of the record held by Mexico's Claudio Suarez.

        Saudi coach Nasser al-Johar took responsibility for the loss and tried to be upbeat.

        “I am disappointed and I am also responsible for this match,” al-Johar said. “We still have a chance to qualify for the next round, and we will promise our fans and officials to do our best in our next two matches.

        “We suddenly collapsed, this is not our team.”


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