Of Klose's precision and Ronaldo's feat

Miroslav Klose's deadly strikes for Germany and Brazilian striker Ronaldo equalling the 14-goal record of Germany's Gerd Mueller were among the high points of the first round play.

GROUP A Germany 3 Ecuador 0

German striker Miroslav Klose scored twice and created the third goal for his side as the hosts defeated Ecuador 3-0 in Berlin and topped their Group comfortably.

Going into the match Ecuador and Germany were both on six points, but the South Americans were ahead on goal difference. So Germany had to win to top the group.

Klose gave Germany the best-possible start with a fourth minute goal. Defender Per Mertesecker found Bastian Schweinsteiger on the right and the Bayern player pulled the ball back to Klose whose shot from 11 metres found the back of the net.

A minute from the break Germany captain Michael Ballack deftly flicked the ball over the defence and Klose controlled the ball with his thigh and managed to sprint away from defender Giovanny Espinoza who attempted to pull him back. Klose ran on and rounded the goalkeeper before pushing it into the empty net.

In the 57th minute Klose unselfishly played the ball back into the path of Lukas Podolski whose shot gave goalkeeper Cristian Mora no chance.

Germany finished the group phase with nine points — three more than Ecuador.

Poland 2 Costa Rica 1

Poland defender Bartosz Bosacki scored from corners in each half as the Poles finished their World Cup with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica in their final group match in Hanover. Costa Rica's Ronald Gomez fired a low free kick through the Polish wall and between goalkeeper Artur Boruc's legs to open the score in the 25th minute before Bosacki restored Polish pride.

Poland finished third in the group and Costa Rica last.

GROUP B England 2 Sweden 2

England and Sweden drew 2-2 in their last group match. Joe Cole struck for England in the 34th minute with a powerful long-range effort and Steven Gerrard headed an 85th-minute lead after Marcus Allback had equalised for Sweden in the 51st minute.

Henrik Larsson then headed home in the final minute of regular time, which meant England still had not beaten their Scandinavian rivals for 38 years. The result put England on top of their group with seven points, followed by Sweden with five.

The match began with a heavy blow to England's World Cup campaign when striker Michael Owen fell awkwardly in the first minute and had to be stretchered off, grimacing from a twisted right knee.

Paraguay 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0

Trinidad and Tobago gave away a first-half own goal in a 2-0 defeat by Paraguay that ended the Soca Warriors' dream of reaching the last 16 in their World Cup debut. The Caribbeans needed to win by at least two goals for a chance to advance from their group, but their spirited attacks lacked precision against the disappointing South Americans who were playing only for pride.

Brent Sancho turned a header into his own goal to put Trinidad & Tobago behind in the 25th minute. And when the Caribbean squad went forward in the second half, Nelson Cuevas sealed the game on a counter in the 86th minute.

GROUP C Argentina 0 Holland 0

Argentina and the Netherlands played out a disappointing goalless draw in Frankfurt in a match where the South Americans dominated over long stretches.

Argentina topped the group, ahead of the Netherlands, thanks to their superior goal average.

The Argentine side produced flashes of the flowing passes that lit up the World Cup in their 6-0 demolition of Serbia and Montenegro, but there were few real goal chances from either side.

Argentine coach Jose Pekerman called the match "balanced" and insisted they were not aiming for a draw: "We had at least five chances. Both sides wanted to play well and it was competitive."

Dutch coach Marco van Basten said: "Argentina are top of the pops, but we got a draw and could have even won it, so it was quite a good performance."

Ivory Coast 3 Serbia & Montenegro 2

Ivory Coast players danced in joy as they notched up their first ever World Cup victory, beating Serbia and Montenegro 3-2. The victory enabled Ivory Coast to finish third in the group, while Serbia and Montenegro ended up at the bottom without a point.

Ivory Coast had their stroke of luck when Serbia and Montenegro went down to 10 men just before half-time when a fussy Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez sent off Albert Nadj. But by the time of the red card Ivory Coast were already 2-1 down, thanks to goals from Nikola Zigic and Sasa Ilic and a solitary response from Aruna Dindane.

The Ivorians took full advantage of the extra man to equalise through Aruna Dindane. Bonaventure Kalou then scored a late winner.

GROUP D Portugal 2 Mexico 1

Portugal defeated Mexico 2-1 to take maximum points and top their group with nine points.

The Mexicans did their best to self-destruct — giving away a first-half penalty, missing a second-half spot kick and having Luis Perez sent off — but they finished second in the group with four points to go through to the round of 16.

Portugal went ahead after just six minutes when Maniche fed Simao down the left and continued his run into the box, arriving in time to fire the Benfica winger's cross into the top corner.

In the 24th minute it was 2-0 in favour of Portugal as Mexico's captain Marquez needlessly handled the ball in the penalty area when challenging for a header. Simao coolly dispatched the resultant spot kick.

Portugal could have gone 3-0 up two minutes later, but first Postiga's shot was saved and then Figo blasted the rebound over. But on the half-hour Mexico were back in the game. Jose Fonseca connected with Bravo's corner to glance a header past Ricardo in the Portugal goal. And on the stroke of half-time Barcelona defender Marquez had the chance to redeem his earlier error. But he couldn't steer the ball past Ricardo with the Portugal goalkeeper flapping on his line.

Mexico could have drawn level in the 58th minute when Miguel handled the ball in the area but Bravo blasted high and wide from the spot kick.

Iran 1 Angola 1

Angola's hopes of World Cup glory were dashed when Iran rallied to draw 1-1 in their final group match. Mexico losing 2-1 to Portugal in the other group game meant World Cup debutants Angola needed to win by two goals to qualify for the knockout stage. Second-half substitute Amado Flavio headed Angola's first World Cup goal in the 60th minute but Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh headed a 75th minute equaliser for Iran.

GROUP E Italy 2 Czech Republic 0

Italy overcame 10-man Czech Republic 2-0 in their final group clash in Hamburg to qualify for the knockout stage as group winners. Both goals were scored by substitutes.

Marco Materazzi, who had come on for the injured Alessandro Nesta in the 17th minute, climbed above the Czech defence to power a header down and past Petr Cech from a 26th minute Francesco Totti corner.

Filippo Inzaghi, who came after an hour for his 50th cap, missed two good chances before picking up the ball just inside the Czech half and beating Cech for his 22nd international goal.

The Czechs played the second half with 10 men after midfielder Jan Polak was sent off for a second yellow card when he clattered into the back of Totti's ankles during stoppage time at the end of the first half.

The Czechs, beaten 2-0 by Ghana after starting with an impressive 3-0 win over the US, went out of the tournament, their first World Cup since 1990.

Ghana 2 USA 1

Ghana beat the US 2-1 to qualify for the last 16, thanks to goals from Haminu Dramani and Stephen Appiah. The Americans equalised Dramani's effort through Clint Dempsey but found no way back from Appiah's spot kick on the stroke of half-time.

Things started badly for Ghana when star player Michael Essien was booked after just six minutes for a foul on Claudio Reyna. This ruled him out of the Africans' next game.

In the 22nd minute, Dramani dispossessed Claudio Reyna and shot past Kasy Keller to send the Ghana fans inside the Franken-Stadion into raptures. The US nearly drew level in the 35th minute when Brian McBride nodded down for Landon Donovan, but he blazed wide from just inside the box.

Two minutes before the break the US were level when Clint Dempsey rifled Derek Boatend's through ball past Richard Kingson. But the lead was short-lived. Razak Pimpong was pushed in the penalty area by Oguchi Onyewu and Stephen Appiah scored the penalty.

GROUP F Brazil 4 Japan 1

Ronaldo scored two goals to equal the World Cup record as Brazil beat a spirited Japan 4-1 to top their group. The defeat left Japan at the bottom of the group with a single point.

Ronaldo's strikes in first-half injury time and the 81st minute, equalling the 14-goal record of Germany's Gerd Mueller, were complemented by goals from Juninho and Gilberto.

Japan opened the scoring against the run of play through Keiji Tamada in the 34th minute, but after that shock Brazil turned on the style in the second half with changes of pace and clever passing.

The big surprise came in the 34th minute when Tamada was released by a pass from Alex which caught Lucio on the hop. Japan's striker then timed his run perfectly to hammer home.

It was the first World Cup goal conceded by Brazil since England scored against them in the 2002 quarterfinal.

Seconds before the break, Ronaldo deflated the Japanese euphoria by nodding in off a headed Cicino cross from the right.

With Brazil already through to the next round, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira left out seasoned defenders and midfielders Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Emerson, Ze Roberto and Adriano. In the 53rd minute Juninho hammered home Brazil's second goal, a long-distance shot that left Kawaguchi looking hapless as it thundered past his right side. From then on, Japan looked lost. Gilberto made it 3-1 in the 59th minute when he picked up a wonderful through ball from Ronaldinho on the left and coolly hit home. Ronaldo rounded off with a right-foot shot into the net after a delightful one-two with Juan inside the penalty area.

Australia 2 Croatia 2

Harry Kewell was Australia's hero as his 78th-minute equaliser gave his team a 2-2 draw with Croatia and sealed their place in the second round of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

In a match which saw three players sent off in the last few minutes, Kewell fired a right-foot shot into the net to give Australia the runners-up spot in the group.

A foul on Niko Kovac by Mark Viduka gave Croatia a free kick and Darijo Srna smashed it past Zeljko Kalac — preferred to Mark Schwarzer by coach Guus Hiddink — for his side's first goal of the tournament. Australia drew level seven minutes before half-time after Croat Stjepan Tomas handled the ball in the area. Craig Moore stepped up to hammer the equaliser from the penalty spot.

A howler from goalkeeper Kalac in the 56th minute looked to have put Croatia through but Kewell's goal — Australia's second equaliser on the night — spared him and Hiddink the blushes.

GROUP G France 2 Togo 0

Patrick Vieira celebrated his 30th birthday by captaining France and scoring the opening goal as they beat Togo 2-0 to secure their place in the second round.

Standing in as captain for the suspended Zinedine Zidane, Vieira fired home the opener while Thierry Henry scored the second goal to secure the runner-up spot for France in the group.

Having drawn their opening two games, France knew they had to win by two goals or more to be sure of advancing and avoiding a repeat of 2002, when they went out in the opening round as holders. And they produced their best display of the tournament to date.

Only some profligate finishing and a superb display from Kossi Agassa in the Togo goal stopped them from being well ahead at half- time. Franck Ribery set up Vieira with a neat ball inside and the former Arsenal man turned and shot into the far corner to make it 1-0 in the 55th minute. Vieira then turned provider with a nice flick to Henry, who slipped the ball past Agassa into the bottom corner.

Switzerland 2 South Korea 0

Switzerland beat a battling South Korean side 2-0 to top the group and enter the last 16. The match, however, was mired in controversy, involving questionable refereeing.

Argentine official Horacio Elizondo over-ruled his linesman's offside flag and allowed the 77th-minute second goal by Alexander Frei after Philippe Senderos put the Swiss ahead in the 23rd minute.

The Swiss ended the group without conceding a goal, on seven points, while the Koreans finished third.

Frei struck to howls of protests from the red ranks of Korean fans after latching onto a through ball and slotting home from what replays showed was a marginally offside position.

Apparently believing a Korean defender had touched the ball, Elizondo over-ruled his assistant Rodolfo Otero, who had immediately raised his flag, and the goal that buried South Korea's hopes stood.

Senderos' first-half goal came off a perfectly-placed Tranquillo Barnetta free kick from the right. The big Arsenal defender rose magnificently to head past keeper Lee Woon-Jae, clattering his skull against that of Choi Jin-Cheul in the process. Both had to leave the field streaming with blood to get patched up.

Switzerland 2 Togo 0

Earlier, Switzerland chalked-up a 2-0 win over Togo to move within a point of the last 16. It was Rennes striker Frei who scored his 26th goal in 48 games for his country to give the Swiss the lead in the 16th minute against the run of play. Togo, who had threatened in the first period, faded badly and Tranquillo Barnetta doubled the lead late in the 88th minute.

GROUP H Spain 1 Saudi Arabia 0

Spain qualified for the last 16 and became the fourth team to do so with a 100 per cent record following a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia. They joined Brazil, Germany and Portugal in passing through their group stage without dropping a point.

Despite resting their entire first-team and giving a below-par performance in the second half Spain still had too much for Saudi Arabia who had to thank their goalkeeper Mabrouk Zaid for keeping the score down.

The Saudi Arabian goal fell in the 32nd minute, beaten by Juanito's header. The Real Betis centre-half rose to head in Jose Antonio Reyes' free kick to give Spain the lead, which they held comfortably.

Ukraine 1 Tunisia 0

An Andriy Shevchenko penalty gave Ukraine an uninspiring 1-0 win over 10-man Tunisia in Berlin, but it was good enough to qualify them for the knockout stage as runner-up behind Spain in the group.

Tunisia, who had to win to qualify, went out of the tournament with two defeats and one draw.

Shevchenko won the penalty in the 70th minute when Tunisia centre-back Rahdi Jaidi was slow to clear, allowing the 30-million euro Chelsea striker to win the ball only to have his heels clipped by Karim Haggui. Shevchenko coolly slotted home from the penalty spot.

Ukraine 4 Saudi Arabia 0

Ukraine shook off their four-goal drubbing by Spain to overrun Saudi Arabia 4-0 in Hamburg, which put them back into contention for the knock-out stage.

Andriy Rusol and Serhiy Rebrov struck in the first half, while Andriy Shevchenko headed a third 40 seconds after the interval. Maksym Kalinichenko, whose corner and free kick had set up two goals, wrapped up the score in the 84th minute.

Spain 3 Tunisia 1

Spain scored a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Tunisia in Stuttgart. Fernando Torres scored twice for Spain, with substitute Raul grabbing the other — all three in the second half after Jaouhar Mnari had given Tunisia an early lead.

DPA