Football: US overwhelm Germans

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THE UNITED STATES produced one of the biggest international upsets when they defeated England at the World Cup in 1950. Last night they were at it again, comprehensively beating Germany 3-0 in a friendly match in Jacksonville.

All the goals came in the first 26 minutes as the near full strength Germans were overwhelmed in the first half. The Americans, beaten 2-0 by Germany in the World Cup in France, took the lead in the 16th minute when Fortuna Cologne's Jovan Kirovski beat Oliver Kahn shot from 20 yards after going past Markus Babbel.

Tony Sanneh, who plays for Hertha Berlin, made it 2-0 in the 24th minute when stole the ball from Jens Jeremies in the German half of the field, and made ground before scoring. Two minutes later Claudio Reyna, of VfL Wolfsburg, was left unmarked in the box and tapped in the third after a pass from Eddie Lewis.

Germany's coach Erich Ribbeck accepted that the Americans were more aggressive and agile than his side. "The goals came fast and by the time it was 2- 0, I think the game was over," Ribbeck said.

Defeat for the Germans was far more ignominious than anything Glenn Hoddle suffered as England coach.

We have heard much lately of karma and here is a tale you may think offers proof it exists. Several hundred Port Vale fans wearing flat caps, the preferred headwear of John Rudge, Vale's manager for 19 years who took the club from the Fourth Division to the First on a shoestring budget but was sacked three weeks ago, paid tribute to him with a march to Vale Park, releasing black balloons to mark his 843 games in control.

Immediate reward came in the shape of a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town. Martin Foyle opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, Vale's first goal in 506 minutes, and added the second, both set up by Craig Russell, on loan from Manchester City. He also missed a penalty.

The Terriers - more heavy karma here - are former employers of the new Vale manager, Brian Horton. "It was a terrific performance," he said. But there would be no bubbly. "We will not be opening the champagne tonight - I had it for my 50th birthday on Thursday."

Still at Vale, Bill Bell, the chairman, has received a "viable offer" for the club and, with reports that 18 cars at his garage in Burslem had been damaged by vandals during the night, he might be tempted to accept.

Paul Jewell's Bradford City, second in the Nationwide First Division won 2-0 against Watford, who had beaten the leaders, Sunderland, last weekend. There was little chance of Watford repeating the upset after Stuart McCall gave Bradford the lead after nine minutes and Lee Mills wrapped it up.

Sunderland recovered from three consecutive defeats to beat Swindon Town 2-0 at the Stadium of Light, ending fears that Peter Reid's side had become the Wearysiders. Niall Quinn, from Chris Makin's long cross, and Kevin Phillips, deflecting Allan Johnston's shot, were on target.

Ipswich Town kept their play-off ambitions intact by beating Bury 3-0 at Gigg Lane. Ipswich broke the deadlock with a Mark Venus penalty five minutes into the second, David Johnson, the former Bury striker, falling under a challenge. Goals by Tony Mowbray and on-loan Marlon Harewood completed the score.

Town moved above Birmingham City, who drew 1-1 at Crystal Palace. Paul Furlong's 50th-minute penalty seemed to have won the game for Brum but Gary Rowett's 90th-minute own goal gave Palace a point.

The unstoppable form of Sheffield United's Brazilian striker Marcelo continued at Bramall Lane where he scored twice as the Blades beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0. Steve Bruce, the Sheffield manager, has put his injured midfielder, Vasilis Borbokis, on the transfer list. He returned home to Greece for his birthday rather than get treatment at the club.

"Unforgivable," Bruce fumed. German fans might feel a similar sentiment for Ribbeck.