Germany defeat spirited Saudi Arabia in pre-World Cup friendly
World champions Germany defeated a Saudi Arabia side who did not humiliate themselves as they worked their way back in the second half to lose 2-1.
Werner and Al Jassim scored for each side, while the winning goal of the friendly held at BayArena was an Omar Hawsawi own goal.
Germany XI: Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng, Jonas Hector, Joshua Kimmich, Marco Reus, Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Timo Werner, Julian Draxler, Thomas Müller.
Saudi Arabia XI: Abdullah Al-Muaiouf, Omar Othman, Osama Hawsawi, Abdullah Otayf, Mansour Al-Harbi, Yasir Al-Shahrani, Salman Al-Faraj, Taiseer Al-Jassam, Salem Al-Dawsari, Yahia Al-Shehri, Fahad Al-Muwallad.
The last meeting between the two sides was an infamous match in the 2002 World Cup in which Germany won 8-0 including a Miroslav Klose hat-trick, in what was the joint biggest margin of victory in the history of the competition.
Germany got off to an excellent start when Joshua Kimmich’s lofted pass found Marco Reus on the left hand channel who then provided a volleyed cross into the centre of the box which found Timo Werner. The latter finished with his left foot over the goalkeeper’s head to make it 1-0.
Saudi Arabia appeared to be working their way back into the game, however they were dealt a blow when Germany attacked them down that same wing with Thomas Muller the target in the box, and in an attempt to clear the ball Omar Hawsawi inadvertently turned the ball into his own net, creating a two-goal advantage going into the break.
Germany made wholesale changes at half time, and the comparativee lack of experience showed late on as Saudi Arabia won an albeit soft penalty. After a Ter Stegen save on Al Sahlawi’s spot kick, the ball rebounded to Taisir Al Jassim who finished into the empty net. The Green Falcons pushed for an equaliser late on but it did not come as the game finished 2-1 to Germany.
The match was both sides’ last before heading off to Russia for the FIFA World Cup, with Saudi Arabia participating in the opening game against Russia before facing Uruguay and Egypt, while Germany facing off Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.
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