Monday, June 14, 2010

Germany embarrass Australia after dodgy dismissal (Germany 4-0 Australia)


A controversial decision may have added insult to injury for Australia, but even before the dismissal of Tim Cahill the Socceroos had been outplayed by a superior German side. Two goals in either half gave Germany a comfortable win and despite a strong start the Socceroos were unable to capitalise on their opportunities.

Australia started the game positively, and could have gone one-nil up in the first few minutes after a Luke Wilkshire cross bounced dangerously in the area. However, despite attempts from numerous Socceroos, the ball could not find its way into the back of the net. The Socceroos continued to look threatening, and it looked as if an upset could be on the cards.

However, Germany then opened the scoring in the 8th minute after young-star Mesut Ozil played a brilliant ball to Thomas Muller, who crossed it back from the by-line for the lurking Lukas Podolski. The Cologne striker smashed the ball in the top corner and Mark Schwarzer, despite getting a hand to it, was unable to keep it out.

The Germans soon doubled the scoring, with Miroslav Klose beating Schwarzer to a Phillip Lahm cross and heading into an empty net. Ozil and company continued to create chances, and the Australians were more than happy to hear the sound of the half-time whistle.

The second half kicked off with Vince Grella substituted for the more attacking-minded Brett Holman, and he made an immediate effect. A hand-ball from Per Mertesacker in the area should have led to a penalty, but neither the referee nor the linesman spotted the incident. Holman then demonstrated why he had been brought on, as the substitute turned Arne Friedrich before firing just wide.

The controversy then continued with Australian talisman Tim Cahill sent off for a challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger. Despite hitting the Bayern Munich star from behind, replays seem to suggest that Cahill was trying to pull out of the tackle, and it probably only warranted a yellow card.

Cahill will now face a minimum of one-match ban, although as it was a straight red the FIFA Disciplinary Committee will meet to decide whether to extend it. Given the harsh nature of the dismissal, it is possible the card could be overturned.

After wading through the FIFA Laws of the Game official document I haven’t been able to find any particular information about the overturning of a straight red for something other than mistaken identity. Sadly, knowing how FIFA seem to work, the chance of Tim Cahill playing against Ghana is probably very slim.

After the dismissal, Australia’s hopes diminished quickly, despite changes from Verbeek. The Dutchman took off Richard Garcia for Nikita Rukavytsya and then later replaced Brett Emerton with Mile Jedinak.

Germany soon doubled their lead, with two quick-fire goals coming in the 67th and 70th minutes, from Muller and Cacau respectively. The game then started to die out, and despite chances for both sides, the Germans seemed happy to take a four-nil win, while the Socceroos no-longer had the threat with only ten men to effectively challenge.

Australia will now need to recover quickly and look towards their encounter against Ghana early on Sunday morning (12am eastern time). After the Black Stars beat Serbia in the other Group D encounter, the Socceroos will need to take all three points from their next game to keep their hopes of progression alive.

Reaction to follow.

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