Germany 4 Australia 0: Cahill sees red as Germans underline their credentials

Group D

Germany got their World Cup campaign off to a flying start with a dominating display against dispirited 10-man Australia in Durban last night.

With a young squad and without injured Michael Ballack, the Germans went on a scoring rampage and signalled their intent for the tournament ahead.

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Lukas Podolski opened their account in the eighth minute and veteran Miroslav Klose doubled the lead before the half-hour mark.

Cheered by the numerous green and gold fans at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the Socceroos showed more determination after the re-start but saw their challenge take a fatal hit when Tim Cahill was shown a straight red card in the 56th minute following a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Thomas Muller added Germany's third in the 68th minute before substitute Cacau got an easy tap-in less than two minutes after coming on as a substitute.

The result lifted Joachim Low's side to the top of Group D alongside Ghana, who beat Serbia 1-0 earlier in the day.

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The Germans, who have not lost a group game since 1994, made Australia pay for their sloppy defending.

Low handed out-of-form Klose the lone striker's role and it proved a wise move.

The men from Down Under had the better of the opening stages and came close to taking the lead in the third minute.

During a scramble in the area, Richard Garcia's close-range shot was blocked by Philipp Lahm.

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The Germans responded shortly after, with an unmarked Klose surging inside the area and hitting a right-footed strike towards the centre of goal which the Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer parried away.

Podolski made no mistake seconds later. He got behind Muller's pull back from the right and drove the ball in from 15 yards. Schwarzer managed to get a touch on the ball but it flew high into the net.

Jason Culina could have restored parity in the 17th minute but he nodded high from Brett Emerton's cross.

Midway through the first half, Klose missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0.

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The veteran got behind Podolski's cross and struck the ball wide from the heart of the area.

Klose made amends shortly after as he extended his team's lead in the 26th minute after sloppy defending by Australia.

Schwarzer came off his line and got to Klose just as the striker headed home from Lahm's cross from the right.

On the half-hour mark, captain Lucas Neill managed to clear Mesut Ozil's goalbound shot with Schwarzer already beaten. But the onslaught continued.

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Germany's Sami Khedira headed high over the crossbar as Germany went into the break after a near-perfect first half.

Australia coach Pim Verbeek brought in Brett Holman at half-time in the hope of sparking his team into life.

Holman tried to make an immediate impact but his diagonal shot went wide of Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's far post.

Australia's hopes then nose-dived when Cahill was shown a straight red card for a tackle from behind on Schweinsteiger.

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With one man short, Australia struggled to stop Germany's advances and conceded shortly after the hour mark.

Muller got away from his marker before lashing home a shot in off the post.

Australia had little time to react as Germany struck again two minutes later.

Ozil surged down the left and cut it back for the Brazilian-born striker to hit it past Schwarzer.

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Much of the early focus in this World Cup has been on the atmosphere generated by South Africa's seemingly omnipresent vuvuzela horns – and small wonder, with little in the way of goals to distract the attention.

In fact, the eight games so far have yielded the lowest net-rippling return at this stage of the tournament, with just 13 goals scored – four of which arrived in Germany's thumping of Australia.

The total figure undercuts the tally of 16 seen in the early exchanges of both the 1962 and 1974 World Cups, which went on to produce meagre returns of, respectively, 2.75 and 2.55 goals per game.

Even the Italian-staged event in 1990 had seen 21 goals in the first eight games, though that figure was boosted by Czechoslovakia's 5-1 win over the United States and West Germany's 4-1 rout of Yugoslavia.

So far Germany and South Korea are the only teams to score more than once and seven of the 16 teams have failed to trouble the scorers.