Germany beat Ecuador 3-0 to top group

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Miroslav Klose scored two goals on Tuesday to help Germany to a 3-0 win over Ecuador and first place in Group A of the World Cup.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Miroslav Klose scored two goals on Tuesday to help Germany to a 3-0 win over Ecuador and first place in Group A of the World Cup. Lukas Podolski also scored for Germany, which has nine points from its three group matches and will face the runner-up from Group B in the second round on Saturday in Munich. The last time Germany won its first three matches at a World Cup was in 1970 in Mexico. Both teams were sure of advancing to the second round even before kickoff. Ecuador will face the winner of Group B on Sunday in Stuttgart. Germany's once vulnerable defence has not conceded a goal in two straight games. Klose finished strong German pressure early in the match when he scored in the fourth minute. After a German corner, the Ecuadorean defence could not clear the ball away from its half and it was sent back to defender Per Mertesacker, who flicked it over to the far post. Bastian Schweinsteiger crossed it back onto the path of Klose, who drove it inside the far post. Klose celebrated with his trademark somersault, a gesture he says is reserved for important goals in big games. The striker, who also scored twice in Germany's 4-2 opening win over Costa Rica, had several other shots on goal and another attempt stopped by Ecuador goalkeeper Cristian Mora. By then, the early pace had considerably slackened off and even the capacity crowd of 72,000 appeared to slumber in the afternoon heat. Then, the German team suddenly came alive again. Captain Michael Ballack chipped a pass to the edge of the Ecuador box, Klose shook off two defenders, rounded Mora and coolly slotted home. Edwin Tenorio gave Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann his first real test of the match in the 49th with a long-range shot that Lehmann tipped over the crossbar. Luis Valencia then nearly took the German captain out of the game with a vicious kick that hit Ballack in the left foot. After some treatment, Ballack stayed in the game. Klose's partner in Germany's attack, Podolski, nearly brushed the post after a quick German move in the 54th. With Ecuador trying to get back into the game, Edison Mendez tried another long-range shot that Lehmann parried. By trying to go forward, Ecuador left gaps in its defense and the Germans exploited it in the 57th after stopping an attack. Schweinsteiger carried the ball forward and waited to time his pass to Bernd Schneider perfectly. Schneider then curled a cross into the box, finding the galloping Podolski, whose poked shot rolled inside the right post. Mendez curled a free kick from 20 meters out over Lehmann's goal but Ecuador was unable to get close to the German goal. (AP)

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