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World Cup 2006

Klinsmann Relief as Germany Crushes USA in Friendly

World Cup hosts Germany crushed the United States 4-1 at home on Wednesday for a much-needed morale boost ahead of this summer's soccer extravaganza.


The first half was scoreless, but Germany took off after halftime

Germany coach Jürgen Klinsmann was hammered in the press after a 4-1 drubbing by Italy in Florence 21 days ago and was relieved to lift spirits by recording the same score over a weakened US team.

It was the last game before Klinsmann names his 23-man World Cup squad on May 15 and several players stated their case.

Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger took just 46 seconds to have an impact after coming on as a second-half substitute, with his inswinging free-kick evading everyone and finding the back of the net.

Fußball Länderspiel Deutschland gegen USA Arne Friedrich und Brian Ching

Germany's Arne Friedrich, behind, fights for the ball with Brian Ching from the US

It has been a turbulent time for the 21-year-old Schweinsteiger, who was wrongly named in connection with a match-fixing scandal by a Munich newspaper.

Kahn makes good

Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn also had room for personal celebration, pulling off a brilliant low save from an Eddie Johnson header. Kahn, winning his 84th cap, has been embroiled in a long battle with Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann for the number one jersey for the World Cup finals.

Kahn's save was vital as it stopped the vistors from levelling at 1-1 but thereafter Germany took control scoring three times in six minutes.

Oliver Neuville, an outside bet for a place in Klinsmann's final squad, curled a brilliant volley past Borussia Mönchengladbach team-mate Kasey Keller to make it 2-0 on 73 minutes.

The inexperienced US defence collapsed with Miroslav Klose netting in the 75th minute and captain Michael Ballack was on target four minutes later.

Fußball Länderspiel Deutschland gegen USA Michael Ballack und Cory Gibbs

Germany's Michael Ballack, right, struggles with Cory Gibbs from the US team

It was a slightly flattering scoreline, although Steve Cherundolo scored late on to put the US on the score sheet, but that did not bother Klinsmann or the bulk of the 66,000 fans at Dortmund's Westfalen Stadium.

Dortmund charmed

Germany have now won 12 of their 13 matches in Dortmund, which is turning into something of a fortress for the national team. Klinsmann will hope it stays that way with the World Cup group match against Poland being played here.

Klinsmann's charges now head into the final two warm-up games in higher spirits ahead of the World Cup opener against Costa Rica in Munich on June 9. Germany face Japan in Leverkusen on May 30 with Colombia the next test in Mönchengladbach three days later. The United States, shorn of several top stars, must also prepare for the World Cup where they are pooled with Italy, the Czech Republic and Ghana.

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