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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 June, 2004, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Latvia 0-0 Germany

Germany were left struggling to qualify from Group D after Latvia earned a deserved draw in Porto.

It could have been even better for the Latvians, but Maris Verpakovskis had two good penalty appeals turned down.

Striker Verpakovskis also produced the highlight of the match with a scorching run in the first half, but his shot was saved by Oliver Kahn.

Germany's Miroslav Klose missed the best chance of the game, but headed way off target in injury time.

The draw at the Estadio do Bessa gave Latvia their first ever tournament point.

You're disappointed after a match like this, a match everyone expects you to win
Germany coach Rudi Voeller

And the underdogs quickly let Germany know they were in determined mood when, within a minute, Aleksandrs Isakovs clattered midfielder Torsten Frings to earn the fastest yellow card of the tournament.

Throughout the opening exchanges, Latvia's robust approach easily kept Germany at bay.

However, with Freddie Bobic almost anonymous up front and Michael Ballack again subdued it wasn't proving too difficult.

Only Germany's Philipp Lahm posed a threat, making some incisive overlaps down the left side.

KEY MOMENTS
39 mins: Verpakovskis beats three players but cannot beat Kahn
62 mins: Verpakovskis is bundled over in the box, but wins nothing
83 mins: Verpakovskis has another penalty appeal waved away
90 mins +1: Klose wastes the best chance of the match with a poor header

Workmanlike Latvia continued to contain their opponents, although as the half progressed Germany's Kevin Kuranyi became more influential.

The Brazilian-born striker came close to breaking the deadlock with a glancing header that went inches wide.

But the chance of the half was created after a superb solo run from Verpakovskis.

Picking up the ball in his own half, he twisted and sprinted away from three German defenders.

Verpakovskis' pace carried him into the German penalty area, but his shot lacked conviction and Oliver Kahn made a comfortable save.

My players kept their nerve, I feel my team is growing from match to match
Latvia coach Aleksandrs Starkovs

Germany started brightly after the break, and appeared to have a new sense of purpose about their play.

Kuranyi and substitute Schweinsteiger both narrowly failed to connect with a cross into the box before Ballack's goal-bound shot was well blocked by Valentin Lobanovs.

But it was the lively, pacy Verpakovskis who was proving to be the most dangerous player on the pitch.

He was unlucky not to win a penalty after another impressive run was brought to an end as he was hauled over in the German box.

Germany hit back when Bobic crossed into the area, across the face of the goal, and the ball just eluded Kuranyi's outstretched leg.

Latvia continued to frustrate Germany, and their resolute defence - which faltered against the Czech Republic - held firm.

And at the other end, Verpakovskis had another penalty claim turned down after he was tripped by Christian Woerns.

With injury time almost at an end Klose had a superb opportunity to save German pride and snatch a winner they barely deserved, but he wasted a free header in the box.


Latvia: Kolinko, Isakovs, Zemlinskis, Stepanovs, Blagonadezdins, Bleidelis, Lobanovs (Laizans 70), Astafjevs, Rubins, Prohorenkovs (Pahars 67), Verpakovskis (Zirnis 90). Subs Not Used: Korablovs, Miholaps, Pavlovs, Piedels, Pucinskis, Rimkus, Smirnovs, Stolcers, Zakresevskis.

Booked: Isakovs, Astafjevs.

Germany: Kahn, Friedrich, Worns, Baumann, Lahm, Hamann, Schneider (Schweinsteiger 46), Ballack, Frings, Bobic (Klose 67), Kuranyi (Brdaric 77). Subs Not Used: Ernst, Hildebrand, Hinkel, Jeremies, Kehl, Lehmann, Nowotny, Podolski, Ziege.

Booked: Friedrich, Hamann, Frings.

Attendance: 30,000

Referee: Mike Riley (England).


OFFICIAL STATS BY UEFA
Category Latvia Germany
Total shots 5 22
Shots on target 3 9
Possession 35% 65%
Corners won 4 7
Fouls committed 25 20
Offsides 1 3
Bookings 2 3
Sent Off 0 0



TRIVIA

  • Latvia recorded their first point at a major tournament.
  • Germany continued their poor record against European teams at major championships. It is eight years since they last beat a European team (third game opponents the Czech Republic). The Germans have scored just three times in their last seven tournament matches against European teams.
  • The 0-0 draw was their fourth at the European Championship - only Italy have recorded this scoreline more often. However, the Germans are unbeaten in their last ten competitive matches which marks the seventh time that Germany (or West Germany) have been unbeaten in ten or more competitive matches.
  • Latvia's Aleksandrs Isakovs was shown the yellow card in the first minute of the match. Two players at Euro 96 also received a yellow card within a minute - Spain's Abelardo against England and the Czech Republic's Jan Suchopárek against Portugal.





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