Germany seek first win over European team in decade
BERLIN, June 13: Germany's clash with Poland today provides a chance for the World Cup hosts to end a decade-long run of failure against European teams in the finals of major tournaments.
The Germans made a habit of brushing aside European rivals during their glory years, racking up three World Cups in 1954, 1974 and 1990 and three European championships in 1972, 1980 and 1996.
Their golden-goal win over Czech Republic at Wembley in the final of Euro 96 was the last time they beat a European side in a big competition.
Since then they have failed in nine matches, including defeats by Croatia in the 1998 World Cup, England and Portugal at Euro 2000 and the Czechs at Euro 2004.
There have also been draws with Yugoslavia at France 98, Romania at Euro 2000, Ireland at the 2002 World Cup and Netherlands and Latvia at the last European championship.
Germany's 4-2 win over Costa Rica in the opening game of this competition has raised morale in the camp but coach Juergen Klinsmann knows streetwise Poland will be more likely to punish any errors.
''Poland will play with a very different style to Costa Rica,'' said Klinsmann, who was in the German team for the Euro 96 final.
''The quality of the opposition is getting harder as we go on in this tournament,'' he told a news conference.
''Poland have a very strong team and, after they lost to Ecuador, this is a mini-final for them.''