Germany, Argentina win

Associated Press

Frankfurt, June 16:

Germany made the home fans happy on Wednesday, defeating Australia 4-2 in Group A on the first day of the Confederations Cup. Michael Ballack scored the third goal in the 60th minute with a penalty, and Lukas Podolski netted the eventual match-winner in the 88th. In the other Group A game, Argentina defeated Tunisia 2-1. Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer kept his side in the game, particularly early in the second half before Ballack

broke through. Germany took a 1-0 lead in the 17th. After Australia had been applying pressure, Germany counterattacked with defender Arne Friedrich sending a long, low ball into the area that Kevin Kuranyi deflected behind Schwarzer. Australia responded quickly. On a free kick from 20 yards, Josip Skoko slipped the ball on the ground through a wall of defenders, beating Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn diving to his right in the 21st. Two minutes later, there was another German goal as Per Mertesacker controled a bouncing ball off a corner, and volleyed home from close range. In the 31st, Australia equalised again. John Aloisi came down the left, got in at a deep angle, and beat Kahn on a close-range, left-footed shot. Wednesday was Kahn’s 36th birthday. Germany went up 3-2 when Ballack converted a penalty in the 60th after Australia’s Ljubo Milicevic was called for tripping Friedrich in the area.

Podolski scored 28 minutes later, beating Schwarzer from close range. Australia made it 4-3 on a second-half injury time goal by Aloisi. Earlier, Argentina got off to a winning start defeating African champion Tunisia 2-1 on a first-half penalty by Juan Riquelme and a second-half strike from Javier Saviola. After Tunisia’s Imed Mhadhebi missed a penalty in the 18th minute, Riquelme converted his penalty in the 33rd. The penalty came after Tunisia’s Hatem Trabelsi was called for fouling Maximiliano Rodriguez in the area. Saviola, who had several clear chances to score in the first half, broke through in the 57th, chipping in a cross off the right wing from Luciano Galletti. Tunisia scored on Haykel Guemamdia’s penalty in the 72nd. Argentina goalkeeper German Lux was called for bringing down Guemamdia in the area, although TV replays didn’t show any clear contact. Argentina and Germany are the favourites from Group A with World Cup champion Brazil a clear favourite in Group B. Argentina faces Australia on Saturday and Tunisia faces host Germany. The eight-team tournament is a prelude to next year’s 32-team World Cup.