Croatia stuns Germany 2 – 1

German Football
By German Football June 12, 2008 18:10

Croatia stuns Germany 2 – 1

Croatia has stunned Germany by winning 2-1 today. Germany went down to goals from Srna and Olic in the 24th and 62nd minute before Podolski tried to spark a fightback with a goal in the 78th minute. However, Croatia managed to hold on and are now on the verge of qualifying for the quaterfinals.

Darijo Srna beat Marcell Jansen to poke home a curling cross from the left in the first half for the opening goal. Ivica Olic doubled the scoreline early in the second period with a relatively simple tap in.

Germany pulled one back in the 78th minute through Podolski but Croatia managed to hold on for a famous victory that revived memories of their 3-0 triumph over Germany in the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals, a match that had featured their coach Slaven Bilic. They went on to finish 3rd place in that World Cup.

To add insult to injury, substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger was sent off in injury time after a retaliation against a tackle, albeit a soft one. He is now suspended in the next game against Austria.

Croatia top the group with six points, ahead of Germany on three. Poland and Austria, beaten in their opening matches, are playing later on Thursday.

Bilic’s team kept things tight early on and looked dangerous when they went forward. Danijel Pranjic gave Germany a warning of what was to come when he whipped in a cross that the defence struggled to clear. The same player then headed over the bar, with keeper Jens Lehmann beaten, and Christoph Metzelder had to rescue full back Jansen with a last-gasp sliding tackle to deny Olic.

The first goal came in the 24th minute, Srna proving too sharp for Jansen, as Lehmann was powerless to stop the ball from heading goalwards. The goal completely changed the complexion of the game and Germany could not respond with a goal before the 1st period was up.

Croatia nearly made it 2-0 when Olic headed down and Niko Kranjcar blasted over. The Germans went close with a few chances of their own from a Michael Ballack free kick and a header from Metzelder that flashed over.

Coach Joachim Löw sent on David Odonkor in the 2nd half to add pace on the right and Ballack shot over from the edge of the area early in the 2nd half as he looked to inspire his team.

The second goal had an element of luck about it but it was reward for the excellent attitude Croatia showed. The ball came from a cross by Ivan Rakitic that had deflected off Lukas Podolski. Lehmann managed to push the ball away, only to see it rebound off his left upright towards the front of his goal. Olic reacted faster than the two German centre backs to tap the ball into the net.

Bastian Schweinsteiger was sent on shortly after to replace the ineffective Mario Gomez and he immediately tried to make a mark on the game. However, Croatia managed to hold on even after Podolski’s late strike for Germany. Coach Löw put on Kuranyi late in the game and changed his squad’s formation to a 4-3-3, in a bid to find the goal that would level the game.

But it was a matter of too little too late for Germany and they now have much to think about as they regroup for the last game against Austria.

German Football
By German Football June 12, 2008 18:10
Write a comment

1 Comment

  1. Prav June 13, 01:02

    I’m so irritated with Germany. This is probably the worst German performance since Euro 2004. The players were a disgrace to the proud Mannschaft tradition of never giving up. I hope this serves as a wake up call to Ballack and co. to improve their play.

Only registered users can comment.