Serbia stun Germany, hopeful England face Algeria

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Posted Friday, June 18, 2010 by AFP

Serbia stun Germany, hopeful England face Algeria

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Germany had Miroslav Klose sent off and Lukas Podolski fluffed a penalty as they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat by Serbia on Friday in a World Cup Group D clash.

Liverpool-bound Milan Jovanovic scored a close-range winner on 38 minutes in Port Elizabeth, beating Manuel Neuer from close range after the goalkeeper had been caught out by a deep Milos Krasic cross.

Klose was expelled a minute before the winning goal after a second caution from a card-happy Spanish referee and the woodwork foiled three-time world champions Germany on the stroke of half-time.

Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic dived to his left and saved as Podolski struck a weak second-half spot kick for a country whose ability to convert penalties during regular time and in shoot-outs is legendary.

The result marked a stunning turnaround in fortunes after Germany crushed Australia 4-0 in Durban and Serbia looked far from potential giantkillers as they had a man sent off when losing 1-0 to Ghana.

Australia confront the Africans in Rustenburg on Saturday and a win for the Socceroos would leave all four countries on three points entering the final series of group matches next week.

Troubled England resume their World Cup challenge later on Friday with high hopes of collecting three points against limited Algeria at the 70,000-seat Cape Town Stadium.

The Three Lions did not match their nickname as they spluttered to a 1-1 draw against the United States last weekend with a Robert Green goalkeeping howler gifting the equaliser.

Steven Gerrard had given the 1966 champions a perfect start by scoring four minutes into the Rustenburg clash only for Green to let a timid Clint Dempsey shot slip from his grasp and over the line.

In the aftermath, manager Fabio Capello was criticised for not telling his squad until the day of a fixture who would make the starting line-up, but the Italian is not wavering.

"I have always used this method. Should there be a change? I prefer no change. Why is it harmful? All the players are focused and ready to play, no problem," he said.

He also hinted Green could get a chance to redeem himself against Algeria, shock qualifers at the expense of six-time African Cup of Nations winners Egypt after a play-off.

"Every player that makes a mistake deserves a second chance," he stressed without mentioning Green. "I judge a player on his qualities and not his mistakes."

Goal-shy Algeria had their chances against Slovenia before substitute striker Abdelkader Ghezzal was sent off and a blunder by goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi presented captain Robert Koren with a late winner.

The sight of the England shirt should provoke the right reaction in the North Africans and if they score first, spectators at the 70,000-seat Cape Town Stadium could be in for an interesting night.

United States and Slovenia come face to face at Ellis Park in Johannesburg for a Group C match likely to determine who accompanies England into the knockout second phase.

Although suspect in central defence, the Americans should have the edge over opponents who offer little going forward and could easily have lost to the Algerians.

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