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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Germany's road to the finals
Sebastian Deisler celebrates with Didi Hamann at Wembley
Hamann's strike gave Germany the points at Wembley
BBC Sport Online looks back at Germany's laboured progress to the World Cup finals.

For a team that started their qualifying campaign so progressively, Germany stuttered into the World Cup finals through the play-offs.

Fate decried that they would be paired with England and their two games were perhaps the deciding factors in who qualified directly to the finals.

Qualifying campaign
W 2-0 Greece (h)
W 1-0 England (a)
W 2-1 Albania (h)
W 4-2 Greece (a)
D 2-2 Finland (a)
W 2-0 Albania (a)
L 1-5 England (h)
D 0-0 Finland (h)
Play-off
D 1-1 Ukraine (a)
W 4-1 Ukraine (h)

First off was the game against Greece, which saw Sebastian Deisler and Mehmet Scholl score in a comfortable 2-0 victory.

Next came the crucial game against England, the last to be played at the old Wembley Stadium.

Dietmar Hamann's first half free-kick strike earned the visitors three points and a massive psychological blow.

The Germans resumed their campaign with an arduous 2-1 win at home to Albania, with Deisler again scoring a crucial goal.

Famed for their efficient approach to playing the beautiful game, the Germans were involved in a six goal thriller with Greece, ending up on the right side of a 4-2 result.

Despite twice taking the lead only to see the Greeks equalise, the Germans had enough quality to gain victory, with Michael Ballack instrumental again.

But the first signs that the three-time winners were not solid as usual came in their visit to Finland.

The hosts took a two goal lead in the first half thanks to goals from Mikael Forssell, the Chelsea striker who had spent most of the season on loan to Crystal Palace.

Germany battled back to draw, with goals from Ballack and Jancker.

Rudi Voller endured a difficult campaign as Germany manager
Voller - still wonders if he will be Germany manager next year
A comfortable win followed in Albania, before the crunch game against England.

A win for the Germans would guarantee their qualification and after taking the early lead through Jancker, such an outcome did not seem impossible.

But it must be wondered whether German football can rebound from the resounding 5-1 defeat that ensued, with Michael Owen making the home defence look like statues.

Direct qualification from the group depended on whether Germany could beat Finland and England failing to gain the same result against Greece.

But while Sven-Goran Eriksson's men huffed and puffed their way to a 2-2 draw, Germany agonisingly failed to break down the Finland defence, while hitting the bar on a couple of occasions.

So a play-off beckoned, with experts wondering how they would fare with a two-leg game against Ukraine.

A goal from Ballack made sure the away game ended in a 1-1 draw, before the second leg formality which saw the Germans won 4-1.

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GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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