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Rediff.com  » Sports » Germany impress in final warm-up

Germany impress in final warm-up

June 03, 2006 13:13 IST

Germany put the finishing touches to their World Cup preparations by beating Colombia 3-0 on Friday, one week before the hosts open the tournament against Costa Rica.

Captain Michael Ballack outjumped two Colombia defenders to head in a Bastian Schweinsteiger free kick from the left in the 21st minute before Schweinsteiger scored from long range 16 minutes later from another set piece.

Midfielder Tim Borowski came off the bench in the second half to make it 3-0 in the 69th minute with a long range shot.

Germany strikers Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski wasted a number of chances, with Klose missing an open goal twice in the first half.

Left back Philipp Lahm returned to Germany's lineup for the first time since injuring his elbow last month and, together with right back Arne Friedrich, helped stabilise the defence that had struggled against Japan in a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.

Germany put in one of their most concentrated defensive efforts in months after Ballack had publicly challenged his team mates on Thursday to make it through 90 minutes without giving up a goal.

They were beaten by Italy 4-1 in March and Japan could have scored six or more in Leverkusen three days earlier had goalkeeper Jens Lehmann not had a sensational night.

Germany, once known for their cast-iron defence, have struggled to keep a clean sheet since their 0-0 draw against France in November.

After two years of experiments with 20 different defensive alignments, coach Juergen Klinsmann seemed to find a back four to open the World Cup in Munich on June 9, with Per Mertesacker and Christoph Metzelder joined by Lahm and Friedrich.

Schweinsteiger seemed to benefit as well by the return of Lahm behind him on the left.

The Bayern Munich midfielder was a constant source of trouble for Colombia down the left side, with a number of fine moves and pinpoint passes.

His direct kick in the 37th minute was the goal of the match, the ball rocketing past two Colombia defenders and into the right corner of Oscar Cordoba's goal.

Arsenal's Lehmann, sent off for a controversial foul in the 18th minute of last month's Champions League final against Barcelona, was reminded of the nightmare with the same Norwegian referee Terje Hauge and his team officiating the match.

There were, however, no close calls for Lehmann this time.

The Germany players will now have the weekend off before moving their base to Berlin.

Source:
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