Klinsmann ends the resistance

INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL: Wales fade away N Ireland rampant Sweet and sour Scots
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The Independent Online


reports from Cardiff Arms Park

Wales 1 Germany 2

Just when it appeared that Wales had given their manager of 10 weeks, Bobby Gould, a result to savour and build upon, the foundations collapsed on them last night. Almost inevitably it was Jurgen Klinsmann who provided the final push.

The German captain, on his first visit to Britain since his transfer from Spurs to Bayern Munich in the summer, struck with 10 minutes to go to bring an unhappy conclusion to a night that otherwise had promised much. Germany, level with Bulgaria at the top of Group Seven, will now almost certainly be playing in the European Championship finals in England next summer.

For 80 minutes Wales repulsed the visitors, even equalising through Kit Symons after Andy Melville had put the visitors ahead with an own goal after 74 minutes. Ryan Giggs, in only his third appearance in his country's last 12 matches, had one of his best games for Wales, tormenting the Germans with a series of fine runs. Mark Pembridge, too, had a shot cleared off the line.

The match reached a climax in the last 20 minutes, although what had gone before was not downbeat. In the first half Giggs bewildered his marker, Markus Babbel, to an extent that Dieter Eilts had to withdraw from midfield to act as cover. In the second he was scarcely less prominent, causing the German coach, Berti Vogts, to say: "Ryan Giggs has only one problem. He hasn't got a German passport.''

It was ironic that Wales' best chance before the interval had nothing to do with the Manchester United player. Pembridge crossed from the left and Stephen Jenkins, making his debut, rose above the German goalkeeper, Andreas Kopke, but his header was too high.

Jenkins also began the second half with a drive that shaved the German bar but these were isolated raids from deep and the Germans had the bulk of possession. Matthias Sammer, who gave a virtuoso performance at sweeper, was dangerous every time he came forward, hitting five shots that had Neville Southall scampering across his line.

Nevertheless Wales appeared to have weathered everything the Germans could throw at them when they took the lead. Andreas Moller crossed, Southall dithered and a combination of Melville and Stefan Kuntz forced the ball over.

Symons, rising powerfully at the far post, scored his first international goal with a powerful header from Pembridge's corner four minutes later but as Wales relaxed in anticipation of a result to relish, Klinsmann struck.

Steffen Freund crossed from the right and Klinsmann, slipping his markers for the first time, headed in from eight yards. It was his first goal against Wales in five attempts.

WALES (3-5-2): Southall (Everton); Symons (Manchester City), Bowen (Norwich), Melville (Sunderland); Jenkins (Swansea), Blake (Sheffield United), Horne (Everton), Pembridge (Sheffield Wednesday), Speed (Leeds); Giggs (Manchester United), Saunders (Galatasaray). Substitutes: Mardon (WBA) for Jenkins, 70; Williams (Ipswich) for Pembridge, 81; Hodges (Sheffield United) for Blake, 81.

GERMANY (3-4-1-2): Kopke (Eintracht Frankfurt); Babbel (Bayern Munich), Sammer (Borussia Dortmund), Helmer (Bayern Munich); Freund (Borussia Dortmund), Hassler (Karlsruhe), Eilts (Werder Bremen), Ziege (Bayern Munich); Moller (Borussia Dortmund); Klinsmann (Bayern Munich), Herrlich (Borussia Dortmund). Substitutes: Worns (Bayer Leverkusen) for Babbel, h-t; Kuntz (Besiktas) for Herrlich, 73.

Referee: I Craciunescu (Romania).