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Germany off to a flying start

June 10, 2006 00:10 IST
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Miroslav Klose struck twice on his 28th birthday to lead Germany to a 4-2 win over Costa Rica, getting the World Cup off to an explosive start on Friday.

The goal total broke the record for the most in the first match of a finals tournament.

Full back Philipp Lahm curled in a right-footer from the edge of the box to give Germany a sixth-minute lead in the Group A match played before a 66,000 sellout crowd at the Allianz Arena.

Paulo Wanchope equalised before three-times former champions Germany, missing injured captain Michael Ballack, regained the lead in the 17th minute through Klose.

The Polish-born striker then made it 3-1 when he fired into the roof of the net in the 61st.

Wanchope added his second goal with 17 minutes to go before Torsten Frings grabbed Germany's fourth with a stunning long-range drive in the 87th.

The opening goal was a brilliant piece of work from Lahm. The 22-year-old hared forward to meet a loose ball near the right touchline and cut back inside.

That step was enough to bamboozle the covering defender and Lahm seized his chance to arrow a shot into the far corner, in off the top of the post.

Coach Juergen Klinsmann leaped for joy but he was soon howling at a defensive blunder.

Arne Friedrich dithered as the defence pushed out and Wanchope gratefully took a pass from Ronald Gomez to score.

Germany kept their heads and within five minutes they were in front again.

Bernd Schneider cut the ball back from the right for Bastian Schweinsteiger and the winger set up Klose, who scored a hat-trick in Germany's first match of the last World Cup.

Danny Fonseca planted a free header wide from a corner early in the second half for Costa Rica.

Klose then reacted quickly when his header was saved by keeper Jose Francisco Porras to rifle the ball home and give Germany breathing space.

Wanchope looked marginally offside when he notched his second goal.

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