Germany demonstrated that they may be serious contenders at this year’s World Cup with a classy 4-0 victory over Australia in Durban.
Goals from Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller and Cacau, were enough to see off a hapless Australia side that spent much of the second half playing with ten men after Tim Cahill’s harsh dismissal.
The loss of the talismanic Cahill was obviously a blow to Pim Verbeek’s side, but by then Germany were already 2-0 up and coasting towards a comfortable victory.
The result lifted Joachim Low’s side top of Group D alongside Ghana, who beat Serbia 1-0 earlier in the day.
There was no sign of the drubbing to come when Australia, who took the field with no recognised striker, almost took the lead in the 3rd minute. Cahill met a Brett Emerton corner and his header reached Richard Garcia, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked on the line by Germany captain Phillip Lahm.
That was as good as it got for the Socceroos and within five minutes they were trailing after the impressive Mesut Ozil found Muller whose drag back was lashed home by Podolski.
Klose, who was looking to add to him impressive tally of ten World Cup goals, came close on 24 minutes when put through by Podolski, but he sliced his shot wide from 12 yards out. It was not to prove too costly a miss as within a minute the out-of-favour Bayern Munich striker headed home a wonderfully-flighted cross from Lahm.
Chances were coming thick and fast and Ozil missed a great opportunity to extend Germany’s lead when he lofted the ball over the advancing Schwarzer only to see Lucas Neill clear acrobatically off his own goal line. Ozil was proving a real handful and on this evidence, could fill the playmaker’s role that has been missing for Germany in recent tournaments. The 21-year-old Werder Bremen player’s only blemish in an otherwise outstanding display, was the yellow card he was given for diving.
Australia were relieved to reach the interval just two goals down, but any hope they might have had of overturning the deficit disappeared the moment Cahill was sent off for a challenge on Schweinsteiger. The decision seemed harsh as there was very little contact and no apparent malice from the Australian.
Reduced to ten men, any hopes of an unlikely comeback were shelved and Verbeek’s side went into containment mode in the hope of stemming the flow of goals. It was to prove mission impossible as Germany were in an expansive mood.
Midway through the half Germany extended their lead when Muller was found by Podolski and he managed to turn his marker before firing home a shot in off the post.
Two minutes later and the substitute Cacao got in on the act, converting a centre from Ozil from close range to score his first goal for his adopted homeland.
Four goals up and Germany’s dominance allowed Joachim Low the precious opportunity to rest the likes of Klose and Podolski. On this form, bigger challenges for the prolific duo lie ahead.
Germany 4-0 Australia
Scorers: Klose, 27, Podolski, 8, Muller, 68, Cacau, 70
Red Card: Cahill 55
Germany: 01 Neuer, 03 Friedrich, 14 Holger Badstuber, 16 Lahm Captain, 17 Mertesacker, 06 Khedira, 07 Schweinsteiger, 08 Ozil (Gomez, 73), 10 Podolski (Marin, 81), 11 Klose (Cacau, 69 Yellow card), 13 Muller.
Australia: 01 Schwarzer, 02 Neill, 03 Moore, 07 Emerton (Jedinak, 74), 11 Chipperfield, 04 Cahill, 05 Culina, 08 Wilkshire, 13 Grella (Holman, 46), 16 Valeri, 19 Garcia (Rukavytsya, 64).
Referee: Julian Rodriguez Santiago (Referee)