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Klose double as Germany top group

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June 20, 2006 22:14 IST

Miroslav Klose struck twice to lead Germany to a 3-0 win over a half-hearted Ecuador on Tuesday, sealing first place in Group A for the World Cup hosts.

Klose, who also scored two in the opening day 4-2 win over Costa Rica, swooped for his first in the fourth minute of a match played in stifling humidity at the Olympiastadion.

The Polish-born forward made it 2-0 just before the interval as Ecuador, who go through in second spot, showed little desire to scrap it out.

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Fellow striker Lukas Podolski slid in the third in the 57th minute after a good cross from midfielder Bernd Schneider. The win ensures Germany will avoid the first-placed team in Group B, which will be England if they avoid defeat against Sweden in a later game on Tuesday.

Klose has now scored nine World Cup goals after a five-goal burst on Germany's route to the final four years ago.

It had been clear before the start that the match meant more to Germany than to Ecuador, who made five changes to the side that beat Costa Rica 3-0.

Klose grabbed his first when the Ecuador defence failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Per Mertesacker on the left. He hooked it back across goal, Bastian Schweinsteiger laid it back and Klose pounced.

The goal seemed to resign Ecuador to their fate and Germany, the three-times World Cup winners, continued to create chances.  

Schneider wafted a shot over from Philipp Lahm's cross and Klose got clear in the area but failed to make clean contact when he tried to chip the keeper.

Klose then shot too high from Schneider's clever ball into the box but he atoned with a fine finish.

Ballack chipped through, Klose held off his marker and took the ball round goalkeeper Cristian Mora before slipping the ball into an empty net.

Edwin Tenorio and Edison Mendez brought saves from Jens Lehmann after the break but Germany had a 72,000 full house cheering again through Podolski's sliding finish for the third.

Second place in the group is still a triumph for Ecuador, who were eliminated in the first round on their first appearance at the finals in 2002.

Kevin Fylan
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