x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Serbia make Germany pay the penalty

Serbia stun Germany with a 1-0 win after Miroslav Klose is sent off and Lukas Podolski misses a spot-kick in their World Cup group match.

Serb goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic celebrates with teammates after he saved a penalty from Lukas Podolski, centre. It was the first penalty missed by the Germans in a World Cup for 28 years.
Serb goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic celebrates with teammates after he saved a penalty from Lukas Podolski, centre. It was the first penalty missed by the Germans in a World Cup for 28 years.

PORT ELIZABETH // Serbia stunned Germany with a 1-0 win after Miroslav Klose was sent off and Lukas Podolski missed a penalty in World Cup Group D today. Milan Jovanovic grabbed the winner in the 38th minute with Germany in disarray moments after striker Klose was sent off for a foul that landed him with a second yellow card. Germany should have equalised in the 61st minute when Nemanja Vidic needlessly handled in the area but the Serb goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic dived to his left to save Podolski's weak spot-kick. The result takes the shine off a young German side that came into the match high on confidence after hammering Australia 4-0 in their opener and gives World Cup newcomers Serbia a chance to reach the second round after they lost 1-0 to Ghana. Until Klose's dismissal Germany had been in control of the match, playing with attacking flair, fast breaks and fluid movement off the ball that left Serbia on the back foot. The three-time World Cup winners' bright start saw them create a chance after three minutes when Sami Khedira found space and volleyed over after a neat cross by Thomas Muller. They kept up the pressure and came close again four minutes later, when Muller's dangerous cross was partially cleared by Vidic and volleyed just wide by Podolski. The Serbs squandered their first chance after 12 minutes when Milos Ninkovic found himself with time and space but blasted Milos Krasic's inch-perfect cross over the bar. Muller and Klose always looked threatening for Germany but the latter's frustrations mounted after he missed chances and had a goal ruled out for offside on the half-hour mark. Seven minutes later the German forward was given his marching orders after receiving a second booking for bringing down Krasic. With the Germans stunned, Serbia took full advantage and snatched the lead with a superb team effort that culminated in Jovanovic's close-range strike. Zdravko Kuzmanovic slid the ball into the path of Krasic, who delivered a delightful cross that was headed to the unmarked Jovanovic, who chested down and converted on the turn. Germany quickly tried to level the score and burst forward, with Khedira seizing on Stojkovic's punched clearance to unleash a fierce long-range shot that cannoned off the bar. They came out fighting again after the break and Bastian Schweinsteiger twice went close with an impressive solo run and powerful strike from outside the box that stung the palms of Stojkovic. Podolski almost equalised after 56 minutes when he chased Khedira's long pass and struck the ball wide under threat from the onrushing Vidic. The pressure paid off three minutes later when Germany were awarded a penalty for handball by Vidic but Podolski's poorly struck spot-kick was turned away by Stojkovic, who was later named man of the match. It was the first World Cup penalty the Germans had missed for 28 years. Serbia fought hard to protect their lead and could have had a second when Zigic's header clipped the bar. Germany still lead Group D with three points from two games, ahead of Ghana and Serbia, also on three, and Australia on none. Ghana and Australia meet tomorrow in their second game. * Reuters

* Reuters

Group D
Country M W D L GF GA Pts
Serbia 2 1 0 1 1 1 3
Germany 2 1 0 1 4 1 3
Ghana 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Australia 1 0 0 1 0 4 0