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|Stojkovic’s save gave Serbia their first World Cup win as an independent nation [GALLO/GETTY]|
Vladimir Stojkovic saved a Lukas Podolski penalty as Serbia stunned Germany in a pulsating World Cup tie marked by a cluster of yellow cards and Miroslav Klose’s sending off.
Milan Jovanovic’s first half goal gave Serbia victory to throw Group D wide open with Radomir Antic’s side joining Germany and Ghana – who play pointless Australia on Saturday – with three points.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said: “We had a lot of problems, the double yellow card for Klose, they got the first goal, then we failed to score from the penalty spot – all in all it was difficult to come to terms with all this.
“We’re devastated of course but I’m still confident we will go through to the last 16. we have our fate in our own hands still and a good goal difference.”
His Serbian counterpart Radomir Antic said the shock win could give Serbia back their belief after an opening loss to Ghana.
“We too can decide our own fate now.
“This is a victory for our people who for sure will know how to celebrate it.
“Klose’s red card was obviously a big handicap for Germany, but we were very positive and energetic after me and my players were under a great deal of pressure from the defeat in our opening game.”
Germany striker Klose picked up the first booking of the game in Port Elizabeth and then his fatal second, from Spanish referee Alberto Undiano, in the 37th minute for a tackle on Serbia captain Dejan Stankevic.
Klose, who is appearing in his third finals, said that the second booking was an over reaction by the referee.
“I would have liked to help the team,” said Klose, who belied his poor form last season by scoring in the opening win over Australia.
“I tried to play the ball and it was no foul. The referee should have given me a ticking off instead of showing me the yellow. The team tried everything in the second-half, they played well and fought hard.”
Less than a minute after he had left the pitch Serbia went ahead after a fine three-man move.
Milos Krasic sent a high ball in from the right post for Nikola Zigic, the tallest player at 2m 2cm high in the World Cup, to head down for Jovanovic to flick in past keeper Manuel Neuer.
The Standard Liege midfielder celebrated by jumping into the arms of a small band of ecstatic Serbian supporters in the stands.
A goal and a man down Germany had a mountain to climb to get back into the match but they almost grabbed a first half stoppage time equaliser when Sami Khedira’s shot hit the crossbar.
Before he was sent packing Klose thought he had come up with his 12th World Cup goal on the half hour but the linesman’s flag had already been raised for offside.
Trigger-happpy Undiano dished out two bookings in the space of barely a minute to Serbian duo Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov.
It was two cards apiece on 21 minutes as Khedira caught Undiano’s attention for felling Milos Krasic, the latter a menacing threat to Germany down the right wing.
Germany came out for the second half full of intent and Serbia keeper Stojkovic was kept busy as the three time champions peppered his goal.
Undiano then handed out yet another card to Serbia’s Neven Subotic.
The game’s eighth booking for a handball by Vidic in the box led to Germany being awarded a penalty on the hour.
Podolski stepped up but his spot kick into the left hand corner lacked inspiration and Wigan’s Stojkovic comfortably saved.
“I didn’t strike the penalty so badly, normally I am more accurate,” said Podolski.
“But I have to hold my hand up to the miss. The defeat is quite bitter of course. We could have done with a win which would have taken us a step closer to the last 16.”