Neuville smashes Polish resistance
Klose is tackled by Smolarek as Poland fight a valiant rearguard action
DORTMUND, Germany -- Oliver Neuville grabbed a last-gasp goal as World Cup hosts Germany finally floored 10-man Poland 1-0 to tighten their grip on Group A in Dortmund on Wednesday.
Substitute Neuville scored from close range one minute into stoppage time when he slid home a cross from the right.
Poland midfielder Radoslaw Sobolewski was sent off following a second yellow card in the 75th minute but his nation held on against relentless pressure.
Germany had not beaten another European team at the finals of either the World Cup or European Championships since their victory over the Czech Republic in the final of Euro 1996.
"After they went down to 10 men we gave everything to get a goal and it worked," Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "The team maintained its rhythm. There was always a high tempo.
"We tried to step the pace in the second half. We tried to put them under pressure from the start. The way we held together and the support on and off the field is phenomenal."
The hosts, looking for a second successive win, had a series of chances and hit the bar twice through Miroslav Klose and captain Michael Ballack in a desperate late attempt to score.
Just when it looked as if they would have to settle for a draw Neuville popped up in the area to score the winner and leave Germany top of the group with six points from two wins.
The Poles, who succumbed weakly 2-0 to Ecuador in their opener, battled manfully but never looked like scoring and with one group game left face another first round exit.
Poland coach Pawel Janas thanked his players for their "fight."
"Unfortunately, we still can't score goals," Janas said.
It was a World Cup occasion to savour as the two sets of fans in the 65,000 capacity stadium produced a wall of noise.
Poland, who had not beaten their neighbors and fierce rivals in 14 attempts spanning 85 years, snapped into the tackle at every opportunity in a high-paced opening.
However Germany had much the better of the first half.
Miroslav Klose, who scored twice in Germany's 4-2 victory over Costa Rica in the tournament's opening match, should have had his third when he glanced a header just wide from a Philipp Lahm cross after 21 minutes.
Podolski stares into the empty net after missing a gilt-edged chance.
Lukas Podolski, like Klose Polish-born, then put the ball in exactly the same place in first half injury time after another Lahm cross and the chance went begging.
Poland, desperate to avoid a second successive first round exit, showed plenty of aggression but there was a lack of quality about their attacks and they rarely threatened.
After a low-key start, Ballack, who missed the first game with a calf strain, gradually began to exert an influence with his probing passes forcing the Poles to defend ever more desperately.
It became even tougher for them in the last 15 minutes when Radoslaw Sobolewski was sent off for a second booking.
Poland goalkeeper Artur Boruc made two outstanding saves to deny Lahm and Neuville in a furious finale.
But he could nothing to keep out Neuville's smartly taken goal that gave Germany their first tournament win over European opposition since beating Czech Republic in the Euro 96 final.
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