• FT

    Argentina

    2

    Tunisia

    1

  • FT

    Germany

    4

    Australia

    3

FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP

Waldstadion, Frankfurt, Germany

Referee: 0

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Germany

  • Kevin Kuranyi 17'
  • Per Mertesacker 23'
  • Michael Ballack 60' PEN
  • Lukas Podolski 88'

4 - 3

FT

Australia

  • Josip Skoko 21'
  • John Aloisi 31'
  • John Aloisi 90'

Germany 4-3 Australia: Hosts joy

FRANKFURT, June 15 (Reuters) - Host nation Germany survived a bout of first-night nerves to beat Australia 4-3 in a frantic Confederations Cup match in Group A on Wednesday.

Germany led twice in the first half with opportunist goals

from Kevin Kuranyi and Per Mertesacker but amateurish defending

allowed Australia to equalise through a Josip Skoko free-kick

and a fine finish from John Aloisi.

Michael Ballack converted a 60th minute penalty to restore

the lead and Germany's captain set up 20-year-old forward Lukas

Podolski to give them some breathing space in the 88th minute.

There was still time for Aloisi to score his second of the

night but Germany came through a nervous last few seconds to go

top of the group after Argentina had earlier beat Tunisia 2-1 in

the tournament's opening game.

'We didn't really expect a result like that before the

game,' said Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann. 'Starting with a

win is extremely important and we're very satisfied.'

Germany, playing their first competitive match since Euro

2004, attacked gamely but Ballack was poor in the first half and

their passing suffered as a result.

There were plenty of mistakes but it was still hugely

entertaining as the first three goals came in a breathless

six-minute spell midway through the first half.

Germany went ahead in the 18th minute when Kuranyi diverted

Arne Friedrich's long shot, giving keeper Mark Schwarzer no

chance.

Australia, Confederations Cup runners-up in 1997 and

enjoying a rare moment in the international spotlight, grabbed

their first equaliser almost immediately.

Robert Huth conceded a free kick by barging Aloisi out of

Kahn's way and Germany were left looking embarrassed when

Torsten Frings and Thomas Hitzlsperger jumped up and Skoko

squirted the ball underneath them.

Germany, playing more with heart than head, continued to

pour forward and went ahead for the second time from a corner.

The ball drifted over towards the far post and Bernd

Schneider cut a pass to the giant centre-back Mertesacker, who

took one touch before crashing the ball in.

Flat-footed defending then allowed Aloisi to race clear on

the left of the penalty and sweep a shot past Kahn, levelling

the scores again in the 31st minute.

Schwarzer made two outstanding saves at the start of the

second half, from long shots by Bastian Schweinsteiger and

Frings, before Friedrich was blocked by Ljubo Milicevic, giving

Ballack his penalty.

Germany looked much more assured after the third goal and

they carved out a fourth when Ballack surged down the left and

cut back for Podolski.

There was more late drama when Skoko set up Aloisi, who

converted at the second attempt after Kahn had pulled off a good

save.

A last-gasp equaliser would have been in keeping with a

gloriously unpredictable game but there were only seconds

remaining after Aloisi's goal and Germany held on for a

much-needed boost in confidence.

'I thought we played well but you can't expect to concede

four goals and win the game,' said Australia coach Frank Farina.

Scoring Summary

  • Germany
  • Australia
(21') Josip Skoko
(31') John Aloisi
(90') John Aloisi

Match Stats

  • Germany
  • Australia
11(6) Shots (on goal) 7(4)
7 Fouls 12
6 Corner kicks 4
1 Offsides 3
0% Time of Possession 0%
4 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
1 Saves 4

Teams

  • Germany
  • Australia
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards