Thu, May 29, 2008 - Page 18 News List

EURO 2008: Germany held in Euro warm-up

GOOD START A late equalizer earned Belarus a draw in Kaiserslautern, while in Grenoble, Bafetimbi Gomis scored twice against Ecuador on his France debut

AP , KAISERSLAUTERN, GERMANY

A German fan cheers before the Euro 2008 warm-up match between Germany and Belarus on Tuesday at the Fritz-Walter stadium in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

PHOTO: AFP

Germany let a two-goal lead slip and Belarus came back on a pair of goals from Vitaly Bulyga to draw 2-2 with one of the European Championships favorites in a friendly on Tuesday.

The Germans led 2-0 on two early goals, but wasted too many opportunities in the second half and displayed some major defensive lapses in the first of their two warm-up games before next month’s tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Miroslav Klose scored in the 10th minute after collecting a through pass from Lukas Podolski and rounding goalkeeper Vasily Khomutovsky to slot the ball home with ease. Klose was playing on a familiar pitch, since he started his Bundesliga career at Kaiserslautern, but television replays suggested he was offside.

Ten minutes later, Germany doubled their lead on an own-goal by Vladimir Korytko. David Odonkor, getting a surprise start on the right wing, charged down the flank and sent over a sharp cross that Korytko inadvertently redirected into his own net.

Bulyga, a speedy forward who troubled the defense the entire game, got Belarus back into the game when he beat an offside trap in the 60th and charged one-on-one on goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. Lehmann got his foot on the ball but could only slow its path into the net.

Bulyga got another chance in the 88th when the defense lost the ball, and he shot past Lehmann to earn the draw. But Germany’s Jermaine Jones appeared to be fouled on the play that gave Belarus possession.

Germany coach Joachim Loew used six substitutes in the second half and they stepped up the pace to create many good chances that were wasted.

Germany, playing in an unusual, mostly red kit, were missing half a dozen players for various reasons. They controlled the early part of the game but Belarus, coached by German Bernd Stange, threatened the shaky opposition defense several times.

Lehmann made a couple of errors, but pulled off a good save from Viacheslau Hleb late in the half. Hleb, free in the German area, got off a good shot but Lehmann tipped the ball over.

Jones, who came on for captain Michael Ballack at the start of the second half, narrowly missed the target from the edge of the penalty area. Ballack only joined the team on Monday after his Chelsea team lost the Champions League final to Manchester United last week.

The 19-year-old Marko Marin, who played second-division soccer this past season, got his first cap when he came on for Bastian Schweinsteiger. He toyed with several Belarus defenders before being brought down but Piotr Trochowski drove the resulting free kick wide.

Germany returned to their training base in Mallorca immediately after the game. On Wednesday, Loew will cut three players from his 26-man roster.

The team flies back to Germany to face Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday in its final warm-up before Euro 2008.

■ FRANCE SEE OFF ECUADOR


AP, GRENOBLE, FRANCE

Bafetimbi Gomis scored twice on his international debut to help France beat Ecuador 2-0 in a friendly match on Tuesday.

The St Etienne striker came on as a second-half substitute and his two goals gave him a claim for a place in France’s European Championship squad to be announced by coach Raymond Domenech yesterday.

The 22-year-old Gomis scored his first in the 58th, collecting the ball with his back to goal, turning his marker and hitting a powerful shot into the top left corner from just inside the penalty area.

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