Three goals from Miroslav Klose helped Germany to a 8-0 drubbing of dismal Saudi Arabia as the triple champions opened their World Cup campaign in stunning style at the Sapporo Dome on Saturday.
Two headed goals by Klose and a strike each from fellow striker Carsten Jancker and midfielder Michael Ballack enabled the Germans to lead 4-0 at halftime of their first group E game.
Klose completed the first hat-trick of these finals with another header after the break and defender Thomas Linke added a sixth in the 73rd minute before substitute Oliver Bierhoff (84) and Bernd Schneider (90) completed the humiliation.
They became the first team in 20 years to score eight in a finals match, Hungary having demolished El Salvador 10-1 in 1982 in Spain.
It was also Germany's biggest World Cup win and highest score in the finals, surpassing a 7-2 win over Turkey in 1954 when they first claimed the title.
Saudi Arabia had already had a few scares when Klose opened the floodgates with a diving header from close range in the 20th minute after Jancker had missed a bicycle kick from a cross from the left by Ballack.
Key playmaker Ballack, on despite a bruised foot, set up Klose with another cross which the Kaiserslautern forward headed home from the penalty spot in the 25th minute before celebrating with his trademark somersault.
Ballack then made it 3-0 with a header from a Christian Ziege cross four minutes from the break and Jancker rapped in another right on the halftime whistle.
With nothing to fear at their own end, Germany appeared to relax in the second half and did not score until Klose headed from a Bernd Schneider cross in the 69th minute.
Linke inflicted more punishment on Saudi Arabia by heading home from a corner for his side's sixth goal four minutes later and Oliver Bierhoff grabbed one in his final World Cup with a strike from 30 metres out with six minutes to go.
A stunning free-kick 25 metres out just before the whistle from Schneider completed the scoring and Saudi Arabia's misery.
Germany, who had a disastrous first-round exit from Euro 2000 and had to qualify for these finals through the play-offs, top group E with three points, followed by Cameroon and Ireland, both on one point after drawing 1-1 in Niigata earlier on Saturday.
Coach Rudi Voeller's men, who needed to beat Ukraine in last November's playoffs to qualify, now face Ireland on Wednesday in Ibaraki.