A Loew day after red card, fluffed penalty
SERBIA stunned Germany with a 1-0 win after Miroslav Klose was sent off and Lukas Podolski missed a penalty in Group D yesterday to secure their first World Cup victory as an independent nation.
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 when Nemanja Vidic needlessly handled in the area but goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic dived to his left to save Podolski’s 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.
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 today in their second game.
“I believed my players could do this,” said Serbia coach Radomir Antic. “If this is the return of the fighters I don’t know but we have to remain positive about ourselves.
“We’ve a great opportunity where we depend only on ourselves in the next match. This is a very important win for our people.”
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany Serbia & Montenegro had lost all three group matches, conceding 10 goals, before they began competing as separate countries.
“We had eight yellow cards and (a second) yellow (for Klose), I think this was not necessary,” said disappointed Germany coach Joachim Loew.
“There were a couple of tackles where I felt the yellow cards were justified but there were many ... given for tackles that weren’t malicious at all and could have been avoided.”
Until Klose’s dismissal the Germans 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 Mueller.
They kept up the pressure and came close again four minutes later, when Mueller’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.
Mueller 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.
The game was turned upside down seven minutes later when the German forward was given his marching orders after receiving a second booking for bringing down Milos Krasic.
With the Germans stunned, Serbia took full advantage and snatched the lead a minute later 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.
“I’m usually a secure penalty taker but the goalkeeper saved the ball well,” said Podolski. “In the second half, we applied a lot of pres-