The German team answers its critics with a flurry of goals in the World Cup opener, as the hosts beat Costa Rica, 4-2. Team captain Michael Ballack missed the game due to an injury, but Miroslav Klose scored twice.
The huge international tournament is drawing the attention of hundreds of millions of soccer fans to Germany -- and the first game set a high standard for the rest of the tournament.
Germany jumped out to an early lead, as Philipp Lahm bent a shot into the top right corner of the goal, just six minutes into the match. But Costa Rica answered quickly, with Paulo Wanchope breaking through two defenders to beat German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
The atmosphere was electric in Munich's Allianz Arena, where 66,000 fans had gathered for the opener. At nearby Olympic stadium, an overflow crowd of roughly 30,000 people packed themselves in front of a huge screen to watch the game, which featured plenty of scoring chances.
Klose, playing on his 28th birthday, scored on a close shot in the first half; he added a second goal early in the final period to put Germany up 3-1. Wanchope scored again to bring Costa Rica within 1, but Torsten Frings, who had barely missed a long, hard goal earlier, curled the ball past Costa Rican keeper Jose Francisco Porras.
The goal resounded through Munich and the rest of the country, as German fans watching the game in bars erupted into cheers. Germany, with a fairly young squad, faces pressure as the host country -- and the team's fans hope for a tournament title.
Germany's next game will take place against Poland on June 14. German fans are hoping Friday's game is a good omen for what the tournament could bring.