BERTI VOGTS, the German coach, refused to blame his goalkeeper, Bodo Illgner, after the 1-1 draw with Spain in Chicago. 'Both teams should he happy with the draw. The Spanish goal was a bit lucky but I can't blame Bodo Illgner. He made two great saves,' Vogts said.
Spain, who drew 2-2 with South Korea in their opening match, outplayed the world champions for long periods of the group C game on Tuesday and were unlucky not to clinch their first World Cup victory over Germany.
In the first half, Illgner was hard pressed to keep Germany in the game, with Juan Goicoechea, Sergi and Josep Guardiola all causing problems.
Although Goicoechea was fortunate to score Spain's goal in the 14th minute when his speculative cross rebounded off the top of the left-hand post into the net, the Spaniards created a higher number of chances than their more illustrious opponents.
The German captain, Lothar Matthaus, was clearly relieved afterwards that Jurgen Klinsmann's headed goal from a free-kick two minutes into the second half had levelled the score.
'When you have to come back from 1-0 down you have to be happy with the result against an exceptional Spanish team,' Matthaus said.
'In the first 20 minutes we let them impose their game on us. But I think that we are going to play a typical German tournament, getting better and better as we go on. The teams that start strongly never become champions. We start slowly and get better in each game.'
With four points in Group C, Germany are almost certain of a place in the second round before their last game, against South Korea in Dallas on Monday. But Vogts will need to analyse why Goicoechea caused so many problems down the right flank as Spain often made Germany look sluggish at the back.
The ageing German defence may turn out to be a disadvantage at this World Cup, where the high temperatures are ill-suited to the northern European players. Jurgen Kohler, now 28, does not look as sharp as he was at the finals in Italy four years ago. His partner, Thomas Berthold, is 29 and Andreas Brehme, on the left of the German defence, is 33.
Vogts will also be concerned about the German midfield's inability to impose themselves on the game until the final stages.
Klinsmann was the only real threat in the German team.
Vogts had to bring on the 34-year-old Rudi Voller, who has come out of retirement from international football for the finals, to enliven the German attack in the second half.
The Spanish coach, Javier Clemente, said his team really needed a victory against Bolivia in Chicago next Monday to ensure their progress into the second round. He will have a better idea of the situation after the Koreans have played Bolivia in Boston in the fourth match of the group on Thursday. 'We set out to win. We played the world champions and we should be happy with the result we got,' Clemente said.
GERMANY (1-4-4-1): Illgner (Cologne); Matthaus (Bayern Munich); Strunz (VfB Stuttgart), Kohler (Juventus), Berthold (VfB Stuttgart), Brehme (Kaiserslautern); Effenberg (Fiorentina), Sammer (Borussia Dortmund), Moller (Juventus), Hassler (Roma); Klinsmann (Monaco). Substitute: Voller (Marseille) for Moller, 61.
SPAIN (4-1-4-1): Zubizarreta (Barcelona); Ferrer (Barcelona), Hierro (Real Madrid), Abelardo (Sporting Gijon), Sergi (Barcelona); Alkorta (Real Madrid); Goicoechea (Barcelona), Guardiola (Barcelona), Caminero (Atletico Madrid), Luis Enrique (Real Madrid); Salinas (Deportivo La Coruna). Substitutes: Bakero (Barcelona) for Goicoechea, 64; Camarasa (Valencia) for Guardiola, 77.Reuse content