Ballack screamer enough for Germany
الإثنين، 16 يونيو 2008 - 23:52
كتب : Omar AbdelAziz
The three-time EURO champions ousted their Central European neighbors to set up a last eight clash with Group A leaders Portugal.
Germany finish second in Group B with six points, three adrift of table-toppers Croatia, who beat Poland 1-0 in Klagenfurt.
Edgy First Half
Action started early as Mario Gomez had a chance to put Germany in front after only four minutes, but the Stuttgart striker failed to hit an empty net, in what could the miss of the tournament so far.
Apart from Lukas Podolski's 23rd minute tester, the Austrian defense gave their opposition little room as tension started to build inside Ernst Happel.
The edgy atmosphere culminated five minutes before the break when both team managers were sent off for being involved in a touchline row.
However, Joachim Loew and Josef Hickersberger shook hands before leaving the pitch, but that could not change the decision of referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez.
Three minutes into the second half, the Germans finally broke the deadlock thanks to a blockbusting Ballack freekick, which burst into the top corner.
Loew's side seemed to be playing with a man down as Gomez barely created any danger upfront, and the misfiring forward was eventually replaced by Tomas Hitzlsperger on the hour mark.
Despite some maneuvers, the home side's attempts to get an equalizer went in vain, with Jens Lehmann facing little danger.