Germany Beat Ireland 1-0 in First Euro 2008 Qualifier | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.09.2006
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Germany Beat Ireland 1-0 in First Euro 2008 Qualifier

Ireland would have been pleased with a draw against the favored German team, but it was Lukas Podolski, who started Germany's Euro 2008 campaign with the lone goal on a deflected free kick.

In a Germany jersey, Podolski made a case for a starting spot at Bayern Munich

In a Germany jersey, Podolski made a case for a starting spot at Bayern Munich

Ireland came out stronger in the beginning minutes to prove wrong their critics, who said the Irish would be happy with a draw against Germany, and pushed against a shaky defense that need about 10 minutes to find its footing.

A sell-out crowd packed Stuttgart's Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium, where Germany finished third in the World Cup 56 days earlier, to watch Joachim Löw book a win in his competitive debut as Germany head coach.

Löw's side had a chance at taking the easy way to the lead when Lukas Podolski tried to break through a chaotic Irish penalty area in the 14th minute, but he was not awarded a penalty kick when Irish defender Stephen Carr blocked the ball with his forearm.

EM-Qualifikation 2008, Miroslav Klose im irischen Strafraum

Klose was a bit too late for much of the match

Bernd Schneider punctuated a quick game on the flank with several crisp passes through the middle to a waiting World Cup Golden Boot winner Miroslav Klose, who unusually didn't seem to know what do with the ball.

Other than hitting the crossbar in the 70th minute, Klose's best play of the match came in the 57th minute when he was held by Andy O'Brien in a foul that resulted in a free kick for just outside the penalty arc and Podolski's chance to make up for a slow start on the bench at Bayern Munich.

The striker's shot deflected off Ireland captain Robbie Keane and flew into the lower corner for the only goal of the game.

Defensive doubts unfounded

Manuel Friedrich was a reliable central defender for long stretches of the match amid concerns the German defense would collapse without World Cup experienced defenders Per Mertesacker, Robert Huth, Jens Nowotny and Christoph Metzelder´.

EM-Qualifikation 2008, Lukas Podolskis Schuss hält der irische Keeper bravourös

Given denied the German strikers time and time again

Unrelated Arne Friedrich, however, was not as convincing in the other center back position, giving goalkeeper Jens Lehmann the chance to get his hands on the ball -- and reason to hope at least one of Germany's four injured defenders heals quickly.

But Germany's real difficulties were getting shots on goal on the other side of the field.

Strikers lost in the penalty box

In addition to Klose's attack on the crossbar, Bastian Schweinsteiger also put a notch in the aluminum, though the German strikers also have to credit Irish goalkeeper Shay Given for a series of impressive saves.

Schweinsteiger flicked a long cross on to Klose for the best chance of the first half on a header to the bottom corner saved by an outstretched Shay Given.

That would be just the beginning of Given's work when minutes later Podolski and Germany captain Michael Ballack each missed opportunities close to the Irish goal.

EM-Qualifikation 2008, Irlands Trainer Stephen Staunton

Staunton was warned once then thrown off the field for his conduct

Poldi missed a chance off a Schweinsteiger corner kick to start the second half and the passing combinations that made Germany stand out two weeks ago in friendly 3-0 win against Sweden were missing all night against Ireland.

Ireland coach Steve Staunton got upset and left the coaching box once too often, kicking over a water container on the way, 15 minutes before time and ended up having to watch the end of the game from the stands after Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo tossed him off the field.

Group favorites Germany head into Wednesday's qualifier at San Marino with three points on the board while Ireland face Cyprus on Oct. 7 in their next match.

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