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Germany beat Portugal to go out on a high

July 8, 2006

By Andrew Gray

BERLIN (Reuters) – Hosts Germany bowed out of the World Cup
on a high on Saturday, defeating Portugal 3-1 in the third
place match with two goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Schweinsteiger, 21, scored with two spectacular long-range
efforts and hit a powerful free kick which was deflected into
his own net by Portugal midfielder Petit.

Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said he was retiring from
international football after the match in Stuttgart. Portugal
midfielder Luis Figo and striker Pauleta also announced their
international retirement, according to Portuguese TV.

Germany’s win which was greeted with flag-waving jubilation
across the host nation, which has taken coach Juergen
Klinsmann’s team and their attacking style to its heart.

The entertaining game was an ideal appetiser for Sunday’s
final between Italy and France, the climax of the month-long
tournament expected to be watched by more than a billion
people.

Kahn lost out to Jens Lehmann in the battle to be Germany’s
number one at the World Cup. But Klinsmann chose him for
Saturday’s game to express his thanks for the mature way in
which the Bayern Munich player dealt with the decision.

“That was my last international match — and you could
hardly ask for a better match to go out on,” said Kahn, who has
played 86 times for Germany.

“But you have to know when it’s time to go.”

Figo, FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2001, won his
127th cap, a record for Portugal, as a substitute against
Germany.

“It is hard for me to end my international career in this
way. I did everything I could and the team gave their all,” the
33-year-old said.

Pauleta, also 33, is Portugal’s all-time leading scorer
with 47 goals in 87 appearances.

SCHWEINSTEIGER STRIKES

Germany went ahead in the match with Schweinsteiger’s first
goal of the competition from long range in the 56th minute.

Five minutes later, his free kick was deflected into his
own net by Petit, a halftime substitute.

The young midfielder’s third came in the 78th minute, the
ball flying into the top right corner.

Nuno Gomes got a late consolation goal for Portugal,
heading home from close range two minutes from time.

Germany coach Klinsmann is under growing pressure to stay
in his post after surpassing expectations at this World Cup
with a team featuring many young players such as
Schweinsteiger.

But Klinsmann, who lives in California, said he wanted more
time to consider his future.

“A lot has happened in the last two years. I need to come
to terms with it,” he said.

Both three-times champions Italy and 1998 World Cup winners
France traveled to Berlin on Saturday in preparation for the
final in the capital’s Olympiastadion.

Italy coach Marcello Lippi said the team with the greater
will to win would triumph in a game where the two sides appear
closely matched in many areas.

“We will see who has the most hunger,” Lippi said. “Among
the many things on the table there will be the organization of
the teams, the technical quality and the great players on both
sides.”

But France coach Raymond Domenech tried to play down the
hype surrounding the match.

“I don’t regard this as a final,” he said. “It’s just a
match we have to win before quietly going on holidays.”


Source: reuters



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