Wales 0-2 Germany: Own goal seals points

German Football
By German Football April 2, 2009 05:36

Wales 0-2 Germany: Own goal seals points

Germany took another ominous step towards South Africa 2010 but at least Wales’ youngsters were not humiliated.

Wales boss John Toshack can at least be thankful for that small mercy after the soul-searching which followed Saturday’s embarrassing home defeat to Finland.

But the points in World Cup Group Four were always heading to a Germany side which was never stretched.

Michael Ballack blasted home an early 30-yarder to set the tone for the night at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, with the unlucky Ashley Williams scoring an own goal for Germany’s second.

It could have been more but at least Wales showed spirit and fight and regained some of their lost pride.

Toshack made five changes from the side which lost so miserably to Finland.
He lost skipper Craig Bellamy earlier today with a recurrence of his knee problem, while Jason Koumas was out with a hip problem.

Elsewhere he axed Chris Gunter, Carl Fletcher and David Edwards, bringing in Sam Ricketts following suspension, Ashley Williams, Robert Earnshaw, Sam Vokes and Aaron Ramsey, for his full debut.

Germany made just one change from the side which beat Liechtenstein, Simon Rolfes taking over from Marcell Jansen (flu).

Wales were captained by Simon Davies in Bellamy’s absence with a totally reconstructed side around the Fulham man.

Germany did not need any help from the officials but that was precisely what happened after just 11 minutes when Ballack unleashed a swerving drive from 30 yards that crashed into the top corner past Wayne Hennessey.

However, that came from Germany being allowed to take a throw on the left that was clearly a Wales ball. Neither linesman or referee Terje Hauge reacted and the ball was instantly fed to the Chelsea man to score.

Half a dozen Wales players complained bitterly to the Norwegian referee, but to no avail.

To their credit Wales side were running and fighting for every ball as the Germans’ passing game threatened to overrun them.

And they were getting forward. Ramsey, 18, up against Ballack in midfield, was looking for space and trying to keep possession of the ball and had two efforts on goal charged down on the edge of the box.

And Wales had a decent chance to equalise after 21 minutes. Ricketts crossed from the right, Vokes headed down and Earnshaw saw his close-range effort blocked by Robert Enke.

Joe Ledley then surged into the box to be brought down by Serdar Tasci, the defender looking to handle the ball as he fell.

Germany’s menace increased and Hennessey plunged to his left to keep out a 20-yarder from Thomas Hitzlsperger after a tapped free-kick. Then Mario Gomez drove just wide from outside the box.

Hennessey saved superbly from a fierce shot from Lukas Podolski, the Germans looking dangerous every time they came forward.

But Wales were showing spirit and when Gareth Bale lifted a free-kick into the box, James Collins rose to head narrowly wide.

After an encouraging first half Wales did not need a stroke of bad luck just three minutes into the second period.

But that is what happened.

Collins had held up Gomez on the right and looked to have run the ball out but the Stuttgart striker kept the ball in.

His low cross to the near post was then stabbed past Hennessey by Williams’ out-stretched boot for Germany’s second.

Gunter came on for the limping Ricketts after 53 minutes, with Wales going close three minutes later as Earnshaw controlled the ball well in the box, turned away from Tasci and forced Enke into a fine save to his right.

Ched Evans took over up front for the hard-working Vokes after 62 minutes.
Germany sent on Piotr Trochowski for Podolski, with Wales replacing Lewin Nyatanga with David Cotterill, but the game was over with the visitors toying with their hosts at times.

Rolfes was booked for a foul on Ramsey before Heiko Westermann replaced the Bayer Leverkusen defender. Germany sent on Patrick Helmes for Bastian Schweinsteiger with four minutes to go.

Wales boss John Toshack blasted Norwegian referee Terje Hauge after his side’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Germany in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Toshack claimed Germany’s first goal was a “ridiculous decision that you would not see in Cardiff park football.”

He said: “The first goal was a ridiculous decision, the throw was for Wales and the linesman had given it.

“Aaron Ramsey was trotting across to take it from an area of the midfield where Ballack was waiting so when the ball was passed by Ballack, Ramsey was not in any position to defend against him.

“As for the handball, it was a penalty and should have been a red card. If that had happened it may not have been so easy for Germany.

“The referee produced decisions you would not see on Llandaff (Cardiff) playing fields in park football.”

Toshack added: “Mind you, whether we would have scored a penalty is another matter, we have missed three already in this campaign, but that is not the point.

“It is tough enough playing against one of the best sides in the world without getting those decisions from the referee, we didn’t deserve that.

“As for the performance, and considering we lost our captain Craig Bellamy with a knee injury, I can’t have asked for more from my team against such a top team.”

Bellamy returned to Manchester today for treatment and Toshack added: “It has flared up again, he felt it in training yesterday.

“We waited until today to see if it had improved but Craig was still complaining about it today.

“He has gone back for treatment and he should be fit for Manchester City’s UEFA Cup game against Hamburg shortly.”

Toshack also lost midfielder Jason Koumas before the game, seemingly with a hip injury that has been worrying him since Christmas.

But there was also speculation that the Wigan man was unhappy with criticism of him from Toshack in the build up to the Finland game at the weekend and it is understood that the pair held discussions yesterday.

After Germany’s second win in five days, manager Joachim Low said: “It was extremely important that we won these two games.

“We now have 16 points from 18 in this group with four games left. That means I am absolutely content with the situation.”

Low also played down an on-pitch row between Ballack and Lukas Podolski that needed to be ended by the referee in the second half.

Low said: “I have not had the chance to talk to them about it, but if a captain gives out orders on the pitch it is the duty of any players to carry them out.”

German Football
By German Football April 2, 2009 05:36
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