Ballack's rocket signals Welsh demise

Wales 0 Germany 2

In truth, however, this was a comfortable night for the Germans as they pin their ears back and head directly for South Africa. For the beleaguered John Toshack, however, there were a few personal displays to whisper of a brighter future – and this time around he was also to blame an official. "The referee produced two decisions you would not see in park football," barked Toshack before going on to praise his team: "I can't have asked for more against such a top team."

Indeed, it was a spirited display after a quite chaotic build-up. Not only was Bellamy a late withdrawal, heading back to Eastlands after his knee injury had flared up, but Jason Koumas also declared himself unfit with a hip problem. That meant Simon Davies wearing the armband and the Arsenal 18-year-old Aaron Ramsey making his competitive international debut.

Within 11 minutes the first outrageous verdict transformed Wales' task from improbable to implausible. How Terje Hauge failed to award the home side the throw-in after it had deflected off a German back defied the belief. But the Wales players committed the cardinal sin of carrying on their protest and Michael Ballack made them pay with a thundering right-footer from 30 yards

It obviously looked bleak thereafter against the side ranked second in the world, but despite Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski both going close, Wales had their own opportunities. Their best chance was undoubtedly the penalty that never was. Serdar Tasci was on the floor when he handled the ball, not once but twice, in the process of denying Joe Ledley.

Three minutes following the restart and the fates turned on Wales again when poor Ashley Williams stuck out his left boot and watched in despair as Mario Gomez's cross was diverted inside Wayne Hennessey's near post.

To their credit, the home side kept plugging away, with Earnshaw producing a fine turn which required Robert Enke to be at his most alert. Yet there was a palpable and depressing sense of the visitors testing out their lower gears. Still, that allowed the willing young Dragons to push forward and they did so to the chants of "Wales, Wales, Wales". After the boos of five days before that was probably about as much as could be wished.

Wales (5-3-2): Hennessey (Wolves); Ricketts (Hull), Nyatanga (Derby), Collins (West Ham), Williams (Swansea), Bale (Tottenham); Davies (Fulham), Ledley (Cardiff), Ramsey (Arsenal); Earnshaw (Nottingham Forest), Vokes (Manchester City). Substitutes used: Gunter (Tottenham) for Ricketts, 54; Evans (Manchester City) for Vokes, 61; Cotterill (Sheffield United) for Nyatanga, 75.

Germany (4-4-2): Enke (Hannover); Beck (Hoffenheim), Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Tasci (Stuttgart), Lahm (Bayern Munich); Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen), Hitzlsperger (Stuttgart), Ballack (Chelsea), Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich); Podolski (Bayern Munich), Gomez (Stuttgart). Substitutes used: Trowchowski (Hamburg) for Podolski, 73; Westermann (Schalke) for Rolfes, 79.

Referee: T Hauge (Norway).

Group Four

Wales results: Wales 1 Azerbaijan 0, Russia 2 Wales 1, Wales 2 Liechtenstein 0, Germany 1 Wales 0, Wales 0 Finland 2, Wales 0 Germany 2.

Remaining fixtures: 6 June Azerbaijan v Wales, 9 Sept Wales v Russia, 10 Oct Finland v Wales, 14 Oct Liechtenstein v Wales.

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own