- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 25, 2006

MUNICH — The win was German-made, with Polish parts.

With two first-half goals from Germany’s two Polish-born strikers — Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski — Germany dispatched Sweden 2-0, moving into the quarterfinals of the World Cup last night in Munich before 66,000 and sending this nation into celebration.

The 28-year-old Klose and the 21-year-old Podolski, who have combined to score seven of Germany’s 10 goals in its four decisive wins, both moved to Germany as children. They speak to each other in Polish on the field, and Klose has helped Podolski find his confidence on the national team.

Podolski scored the game’s first goal in the fourth minute on a rebound of a Klose shot.

“Well, I wanted to be present from the first minute and guide Lukas,” said Klose, who was named man of the match. “The goal was like a liberation for him.”

Eight minutes later, Podolski made it 2-0 — with an assist from Klose, who drew three defenders to him. Klose then passed to Podolski, who dribbled into the box and beat Swedish goalie Marcell Jansen.

After 12 minutes, the game was basically over.

“It was a lot of fun watching this team play, especially the first half hour,” said German coach Juergen Klinsmann said. “It was out of the ordinary, in the technical quality of our play.”

Klinsmann, who was blasted by the critics for spending too much time at his California home before the finals, can now do no wrong in the eyes of the German people.

“We wanted to develop a philosophy and style of football that Germany could play,” said Klinsmann, who had no coaching experience when he got the job.

German captain Michael Ballack, who will be playing for Premier League club Chelsea in London in August, was in super form, taking nine of his team’s shots, but is still scoreless in the tournament.

In the 34th minute, Sweden defender Teddy Lucic earned a second yellow card for shirt pulling, which seemed a little harsh as Germany’s got away with a worst shirt-tug on Freddie Ljungberg in the opening minutes.

“I don’t want to talk about the referee, but I don’t think he stood up to the conditions,” Swedish coach Lars Lagerback said. “With 10 men, it’s difficult to beat a team like Germany. It’s already difficult playing them with 11 players.”

Sweden had a chance to get back into the game early in the second half, when Henrik Larsson was pulled down in the box and was awarded a penalty kick. But Larsson blew the kick, sending it high into the crowd and missing his chance to score in three different World Cups.

It was probably the worst penalty kick since the Italian ace Roberto Baggio blew his penalty kick at the World Cup final at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in 1994.

Unfortunately for Larsson, just as he was about to take the kick, his coach decided at make two substitutions, and the wait may have unnerved the striker who had German goalie Jens Lehmann a few yards away trying to stare down the Swede.

Germany had 63 percent of the possession and dominated in shots 26 to five, as playing 10 men for 56 minutes just wore down the Swedes.

Notes — German backup keeper Oliver Kahn couldn’t hide his displeasure at sitting on the bench. After the game, Germany’s bench players ran onto the field, but Kahn left quickly for the locker room.

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