The Germans lost 2-1 to an under-strenghted Czech side in a match they had to win.
Oliver Kahn was lucky not to concede a goal in the 4th minute, but needed treatment when Jiranek failed to turn the ball in from close range. Ballack who had seen his shot deflected for a corner earlier, struck a sweet volley into the top right corner of the net in the 21st minute. On the half-hour mark Heinz beat Kahn with a perfect free kick for the equalizer. Lokvenc got a foot to a cross in the first minute of the second half, but Kahn was in the right place to make the save. Germany attacked relentlessly in the second half, knowing that a win would take them to the next stage. Germany had a shot pushed over for a corner in the 52nd minute, but should have gone ahead when Ballack´s shot came off the post only for Schneider to ignore the gaping goal and shoot softly towards Blazek who punched the ball away. Six minutes later Germany came close again, but Wörns' header was cleared off the line by Hübschman, and Blazek somehow got in the way of Podolski´s goalbound shot. Kuranyi´s free header from close range went the wrong side of the post, and 2 minutes later in a swift attack Baros held off 2 German defenders, beat Kahn and rolled the ball home to signal an early exit for Germany.
Ruud Lesson For Latvia
Two goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy helped the Netherlands to a 3-0 win over Latvia.
Kolinko had to get down quickly to save a good long-distance shot from Cocu in the 12th minute. A minute later van Nistelrooy only had the keeper to beat, but failed to get the ball passed him. He made amends in the 27th minute when a foul on Davids gave him the opportunity to send Kolinko the wrong way from the spot. Cocu got on the end of a cross in the 35th minute and headed the ball into the path of van Nistelrooy whose header doubled the score. Five minutes later van Nistelrooy whacked the ball from just inside the area, but Kolinko blocked his shot. Latvia had 2 chances early in the second half, with van der Sar saving from Rubins and shot from Lobanovs going just wide. In the 50th minute a low shot came off van Nistelrooy and went high over the bar. A minute later Robben dribbled his way into the box, but shot straight at the keeper. Kolinko had to dive to his right in the 61st minute to punch away shots by van Nistelrooy and van der Meyde. Two minutes later he made another fine save when Reiziger struck from outside the area. Seedorf was also denied. This time the keper diving to his left in the 76th minute. Makaay who had replaced van Nistelroy, received the ball from Robben, sold the defense a dummy and beat the Latvian keeper to seal a 3-0 victory for the Dutch.