Klose silences German critics

Striker shines in record 4-1 demolition of England after poor season with Bayern.

    Klose celebrates Germany's first goal with Muller [GALLO/GETTY]

    Just a couple of weeks ago Germany's Miroslav Klose was persona non grata among German fans following his trickle of league goals but the striker has silenced his critics with a sparkling comeback.

    On Sunday the 32-year-old, who came into the World Cup after what appeared his worst season in years with just three league goals for Bayern Munich, could finally crack a smile.

    Klose had just scored his 50th international goal in Germany's 4-1 demolition of England to steer Germany into the World Cup quarter-finals.

    "No, I did not want to show anyone anything. I just wanted to prove it to myself," he said of Germany's first goal, when he sprinted past two England defenders to slot the ball home.

    Germany put on a superb display to thrash England, leaving their long-standing rivals bemoaning a decision to rule out an equaliser which they say cost them the game.

    Thomas Muller scored twice as Germany's young side overwhelmed a sloppy defence in Bloemfontein with some sublime counter-attacking to dish out England's biggest ever defeat in the World Cup finals.

    Trailing 2-1 late in the first half, England midfielder Frank Lampard struck a shot from 20 metres out which hit the bar, dropped a metre behind the line, then bounced up and hit the bar again before it was gathered by keeper Manuel Neuer.

    Clear goal

    It was clearly a goal and made an ironic comparison with Geoff Hurst's disputed goal in the 1966 final between England and West Germany final which England won.

    In a frantic first half, Germany took a deserved 2-0 lead with some high-paced play.

    Klose snatched the lead in the 20th minute, catching the English defence napping and chasing down German keeper Neuer's deep goal kick to slot home his 12th goal in World Cup tournaments.


    Striker Lukas Podolski struck again in the 32nd minute with a fierce low drive after a combination of passes via Muller and Mesut Ozil to give them a two-goal cushion.

    Matthew Upson cut the deficit in the 37th minute, heading in a Steven Gerrard cross, with Neuer completely missing the ball, and just a minute later, Lampard fired in his shot only for the referee to wave play on.

    England came out fighting in the second half and hit the bar again with a fierce Lampard free kick seven minutes after the restart but Mueller ended their hopes with two goals in three minutes to cap a memorable performance for the youngster.

    Germany now face Argentina or Mexico in the quarter-finals.
    Only days ago Klose had been sent off in their Group D defeat by Serbia and had to sit out Germany's narrow 1-0 win over Ghana that sent them through the group stage.

    Kicked off

    The discussion as to whether he was too old had again kicked off back home.

    "I was just happy that the team won against Ghana and I could play against England," he said after scoring what was his 12th World Cup goal.

    The Poland-born striker is now level with Pele on the all-time World Cup scorers list, just three behind top scorer Ronaldo on 15, having played 99 times for his country.

    "Back then when I was a kid it was a dream to have such a record, of scoring at every second Germany game I play.

    Even just playing in the national team was a dream back then," he said with a dry smile.

    The soft-spoken Klose is lying in ninth place in the list of Germany's most-capped players, behind such illustrious players as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mueller and Jurgen Klinsmann.

    He has now won one more cap than captain Michael Ballack, who missed the World Cup through injury.

    On Germany's all-time scorers list he is in third place, with Muller on top with 68 goals.

    He will most take his international appearances to 100 when Germany face Argentina for a spot in the semi-finals.

    "There is still a lot that is possible here and it would be a mistake to start asking ourselves how far we can go," he said.

    "But if we play the game like we played it today then we will go far. We can apply it against any opponent."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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