Munich, June 9:

Birthday boy Miroslav Klose sent hosts Germany to a rocking start as they beat Costa Rica 4-2 in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2006 at the Allianz Arena in Munich today. Joining the Klose party were Torsten Frings and Lahm Philip who scored spectacular goals to send the home fans into a frenzy.

The Germans, who entered the field without captain Michael Ballack, kept the Costa Ricans under pressure from the beginning and in the sixth minute Philip spectacularly curved a shot from the edge of the box, beating custodian Porras Jose. Germans did well to initially run down the left flank of the Costa Ricans but the Ticos struck back through Paulo Wanchope who broke the off side trap of the Germans and coolly slammed the ball past Jens Lehman from 14 yards in the 12th minute.

Germany, who were captained by Bernd Schneider in Ballack’s absence, went up in the 17th minute through Klose, who turned 28 today, when he fired from close range after being fed by midfielder Schweinsteiger Bastian. Lehman who replaced popular Oliver Kahn as the No 1 goalkeeper had a scare when he received treatment for an injured foot. Players from both the teams attacked the goals from long distances, which caused problems for the keepers — Lehman and Porras.

Earlier, in the fourth minute midfielder Torsten Frings tried one from 30 yards, which just went over the cross bar making the home fans gasp. Halfway into the second half the pace slowed with the hosts trying to consolidate the lead with some good defending by the Central Americans. With just five minutes to go for the first half whistle, a Lukas Podolski free kick just went over the cross bar after Sequiera fouled Schweinsteiger on the edge of the box. Podolski has come into the tournament with great hype and is known as the future of German football.

Twenty-six seconds after the restart, Podolski fired one from long range which went over the keeper. In the 48th minute Costa Ricans came close to scoring but a diving header by Danny Fonseca on a corner kick went wide.

Ticos then went to defending deep into their own half while launching quick counterattacks. In the 61st minute Klose added zing to his birthday party when he scored one of his trademark headers on a cross from Philip.

Paulo Wanchope, one of the stars of the Costa Ricans, then pulled one back for his team after dodging two German defenders and then beating Lehman in the 73 rd minute. German coach Jurgen Klinsmann substituted Klose with Oliver Neuville in the 80th minute amidst thundering applause for the Werder Bremen player. Frings then came to the party and scored from 30 yards to put the game beyond doubt for the hosts in the dying moments of the opener.

Today’s match witnessed most number of goals scored in the opener beating the earlier record of 4, which were scored in 1962 (Chile) opener.