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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK
Earnshaw seals historic win
Robert Earnshaw celebrates his goal with Ryan Giggs
New-boy: Earnshaw had a memorable debut
Wales 1-0 Germany

Wales striker Robert Earnshaw enjoyed a fairytale debut as he scored the only goal of the game to beat World Cup-bound Germany in Cardiff.

The Cardiff City striker scored after just 12 seconds of the second half to give Wales another famous victory in Cardiff.

It was only Wales' second ever win over Germany, and no-one could deny Mark Hughes' men were worthy winners under the Millennium Stadium roof.

But the result will shatter any confidence Rudi Voller's squad had before flying out to Japan to prepare for their opening World Cup match.

Earnshaw was given a perfect opportunity by Hughes to show his talents against top-class opposition - and the pint-sized striker certainly did not disappoint.

With barely a minute on the clock he used his electrifying pace to force Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn into a rushed clearance, and then showed plenty of confidence with some assured touches down the right wing.

Ryan Giggs occupied the opposite left-wing role as Hughes decided to use a five-man midfield with John Hartson as the lone target man up front.

Ryan Giggs puts Germany's Jorg Heinrich under pressure
Ryan Giggs puts Germany's Jorg Heinrich under pressure
The system is designed specifically to make the most of the pacy Giggs and Earnshaw when they break from midfield.

And the pair linked up perfectly with a mere eight minutes on the clock as Giggs was sent clean through the German defence by a deft flick from Earnshaw.

Kahn came out quickly to close the angle and saved well as the Manchester United winger let fly with a fierce shot across the face of goal

The early scare seemed to concentrate the German minds and they slowly began to carve out chances of their own.

Miroslav Klose first went close and then Christian Ziege had a long-range effort touched over before Torsten Frings sent a header high over the top.

Germany, who were without all their Bayer Leverkusen contingent, started to control possession and dictate the control of the game.

But Wales looked comfortable enough soaking up the pressure and continued to look dangerous when launching swift counter-attacks.

Earnshaw twice caused problems as he cut inside from the left wing towards the far post and Kahn looked far from convincing when trying to intercept a Mark Delaney cross from the right wing.

The crowd had hardly returned to their seats for the beginning of the second half when Earnshaw's magic moment arrived.

A trademark Harston flick-on landed perfectly in his path and he dashed past the last German defender to blast the ball into the top left-hand corner.

Germany looked stunned and barely a minute later Simon Davies should have doubled the lead when he was sent clear with only Kahn to beat.

Again the Bayern Munich goalkeeper closed down the angle and then had to be at full stretch to save Davies' low shot which was destined for the bottom corner.

The Germany defence continued to look all at sea as again Earnshaw and then Giggs fired efforts on target.

Robert Earnshaw is congratulated by Mark Hughes
Earnshaw will surely have impressed boss Mark Hughes
Earnshaw had the ball into the back of the net for a second time, but an offside flag cut short any more wild celebrations.

The visitors finally rediscovered their composure but still failed to make any inroads into the Welsh defence as the likes of Robbie Savage, Mark Pembridge and Robert Page kept up their tenacious tackling.

Carsten Jancker was brought on with some 20 minutes to go and his presence immediately caused some alarm.

The striker delivered a fierce low cross and Gary Speed had to be at full stretch to block Klose's shot from inside the six-yard box.

Germany came even closer on 75 minutes when substitute Marco Bode hit the post with a far post header which gave Crossley no chance.

The keeper then conceded an unnecessary corner after his clearance rebounded straight off Page's head.

But the defender headed clear and Giggs then set off on a run the full length of the pitch. His cross eventually reached Davies on the far-post but the young Spurs winger let the chance slip away.

Almost immediately, Wales rode their luck again as Janker this time crashed a fierce volley against the post.

In injury time, Chris Coleman made his long-awaited comeback as a substitute for man-of-the match Earnshaw.

But there was not enough time for the Fulham defender to have his first touch as the referee blew the final whistle to end a memorable night in the Welsh capital.


Wales: M Crossley (Middlesbrough); M Delaney (Aston Villa), G Speed (Newcastle, capt), A Melville (Fulham), R Page (Sheff Utd), M Pembridge (Everton), R Savage (Leicester), R Earnshaw (Cardiff), S Davies (Tottenham), R Giggs (Manchester Utd), J Hartson (Celtic).
Subs: D Coyne, D Barnard, G Taylor, P Evans, C Coleman, R Weston, S Jenkins.

Germany: O Kahn (Bayern Munich); J Heinrich (Borussia Dortmund), C Metzdeler (Borussia Dortmund), T Linke (Bayern Munich), C Ziege (Tottenham), T Frings (Werder Bremen), S Deisler (Hertha Berlin), D Hamman (Liverpool), J Jeremies (Bayern Munich), M Bode (Werder Bremen), O Bierhoff (AS Monaco).
Subs: J Lehmann, C Jancker, G Asamoah, S Kehl, Ernst, M Bode, O Bierofka, Freier, Rahn, Schindzielorz, Borowski.

Referee: Roy Olsen (Norway)


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BBC Five Live's John Murray
"Earnshaw was outstanding"
Wales boss Mark Hughes
"We'll enjoy this"
Wales goalscorer Robert Earnshaw
"I was overwhelmed by the crowd"
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GROUP E
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