Germany sends Australia down under
JOHANNESBURG - The youngest Germany lineup in generations pounded 10-man Australia 4-0 at Durban on Sunday night to begin the country’s bid for a fourth World Cup title, hours before armed riot police moved in to disperse angry stadium workers protesting over low wages.
In earlier matches, Ghana and Slovenia capitalized on opposing players being sent off for handball to each win 1-0. Ghana became the first African team to win a World Cup match on African soil, beating Serbia thanks to a late penalty from Asamoah Gyan at Pretoria. Slovenia was helped by the latest goalkeeping blunder of the tournament to edge Algeria.
After the night match at Mabhida Stadium in Durban, police appeared to set off two percussive grenades, causing loud bangs, to drive a demonstration out of a parking lot under the venue. Associated Press reporters saw about 30 riot police charge into the crowd to drive it out of the stadium.
An AP photographer said police fired tear gas at protesters outside the stadium. About 100 police later surrounded a group of about 300 protesters on a nearby street and separated the men from the women. The protesters left peacefully after 2 a.m. yesterday local time after calm discussions with police. There were no injuries or arrests reported.
“Two hours after the end of the first match at the Durban stadium last night, there was an internal pay dispute between the principal security company employed by the organizing committee and some of the static security stewards employed by the company at the match,” Mkhondo said in a statement e-mailed to the AP. “Police were called on to disperse the protesting stewards. This happened, however, long after all spectators had left the stadium after the match and the incident had no impact whatsoever on the match day security operations. The organizing committee will engage with its stadium security provider to avoid a repeat of the situation during the course of the tournament.”
A security steward, Fanak Falakhebuengu, told the AP he had heard the workers would be paid 1,500 rand ($195) a day but they were only getting 190 rand for working long days.
Australia star Tim Cahill had an earlier finish than he had anticipated after he was red carded in the 56th minute, ending any chance Australia had of keeping it close against Germany.
Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose scored in the first 30 minutes as Australia coach Pim Verbeek’s defensive tactics backfired, and Thomas Mueller and Cacau added the others against an overwhelmed Australian defense.
“We earned respect for ourselves,” Klose said. “It was hugely important to win the first game, but nothing is won yet. We’re a young team and we have fun playing.”
Cahill was dismissed for a late challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger, who told the Everton midfielder after the match that he didn’t believe the tackle had warranted a red card. The dominant win, played in front of 62,660 fans, came without injured captain Michael Ballack.
“I think the way we set up our attacks is something we’ve been working on intensively,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. “But we’ve also worked on how we play off the ball - to move into unused space. We were very good on the ball tonight, and we created beautiful goals.”
Klose’s strike drew him level with Juergen Klinsmann as Germany’s second most prolific World Cup marksman with 11. Gerd Mueller tops the list with 14 goals.
“It was not an easy game for us,” Verbeek said. “We tried to make it very difficult for them and use our speed, but we didn’t have the ball in the first 20 minutes.”
In the opening Group D match, Asamoah Gyan calmly slotted a penalty high into the net in the 85th minute to give Ghana the three points. Ghana, playing without injured Michael Essien, was awarded the penalty when defender Zdravko Kuzmanovic reached up to handle a cross that seemed to pose little immediate danger. The Serbs had Aleksandar Lukovic sent off when he was shown a second yellow card in the 74th minute for holding the arm of an opponent.
“For sure, this is a big blow for us. To start a World Cup with a defeat is a bad thing,” Serbia coach Radomir Antic said. “We will use all our energy to be positive when preparing for the next game [against Germany on Friday].”
At Polokwane, Algeria’s Faouzi Chaouchi followed England’s Robert Green into goalkeeping ignominy at this World Cup, botching a seemingly comfortable save to allow Robert Koren’s speculative long shot to bounce off his arm and into the net.
“Everyone saw what happened with the ball, and what happened yesterday with England’s goalkeeper,” Algeria coach Saadane said, referring to Green’s mistake that allowed the United States to equalize in a 1-1 draw Saturday. “You have to adjust to the flight of the ball.”