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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 21:58 GMT 22:58 UK
Germany 2-2 Japan
Miroslav Klose scores to start the German comeback
Miroslav Klose gets Germany's first
World Cup hosts Germany came from two goals down to draw against Japan.

Japan profited from German disarray as the hosts experimented with a new formation and Naohiro Takahara struck two fine goals on 57 and 65 minutes.

Germany, who had Michael Ballack back after injury, piled forward and were rewarded when Miroslav Klose bundled in a Bastian Schweinsteiger free-kick.

And four minutes later, Schweinsteiger headed in a Bernd Schneider free-kick to salvage the draw.

"Obviously it feels better to equalise after being two goals down," said Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

"A defeat would have been irritating but not the end of the world. We let them have too many chances."

Klinsmann started with Ballack on the right of midfield with Tim Borowski given a free role in the centre, but the change backfired.

Atsushi Yanagisawa slipped in an early reverse pass to Bolton's Hidetoshi Nakata, who forced goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to save with his feet.

The visitors had an even better chance when Nakata dispossessed Torsten Frings, received a return pass and shot limply into the arms of Lehmann on the edge of his area.

Lehmann had to save again from Yanagisawa from another swift break at the start of the second half but could not deny German-based striker Takahara.

Jens Nowotny came on to replace Christoph Metzelder at centre-back and win his first cap since Euro 2004.

But the veteran was almost immediately caught hopelessly out of position as Japan broke from a corner, leaving Takahara to take advantage by lifting a shot into the top of the net.

Eight minutes later, Takahara helped himself to a second, turning inside Ballack from the right of the area and scoring in off the par post.

Germany bounced back but supporters will demand an improvement in their final warm-up match against Colombia on 2 June before they open the World Cup against Costa Rica in Munich on 9 June.

Germany: Lehmann, Ballack, Schneider, Frings, Klose, Metzelder (Nowotny 55), Borowski (Odonkor 63), Schweinsteiger, Mertesacker, Jansen, Podolski (Neuville 70).
Subs Not Used: Kahn, Asamoah, Kehl, Friedrich, Hitzlsperger, Hanke, Huth.

Booked: Borowski, Ballack, Odonkor.

Goals: Klose 76, Schweinsteiger 80.

Japan: Kawaguchi, Hidetoshi Nakata, Nakamura, Nakazawa, Yanagisawa (Tamada 81), Takahara (Oguro 76), Miyamoto, Fukunishi, Santos, Kaji (Komano 39), Tsuboi.
Subs Not Used: Narazaki, Ono, Inamoto, Koji Nakata, Ogasawara, Endo, Doi, Maki.

Booked: Yanagisawa, Takahara.

Goals: Takahara 57, 65.

Att: 22,500

Ref: Kyros Vassaras (Greece).

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Germany team guide
22 May 06 |  Germany
Pick your Germany XI
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Japan team guide
22 May 06 |  Japan
Pick your Japan XI
16 May 06 |  Squad selectors
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25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage

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