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Germany stunned by Serbia at World Cup

Serbia's Milan Jovanovic celebrates after turning the ball past German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Serbia's Milan Jovanovic celebrates after turning the ball past German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Milan Jovanovic scores for Serbia from close range in first half
  • German striker Miroslav Klose sent off for second yellow card
  • Serbian goalkeeper Stojkovic saves Lukas Podolski's second half penalty
  • Loss is Germany's first defeat in World Cup group stage since 1986

(CNN) -- A first half goal from Milan Jovanovic gave Serbia a shock 1-0 win over 10-man Germany at the World Cup on Friday to throw Group D wide open.

Germany suffered an early blow in Port Elizabeth when leading striker Miroslav Klose was sent off for his second yellow card, shortly before Jovanovic fired Serbia in front. Lukas Podolski then saw his second half penalty, given following a handball by Nemanja Vidic, blocked by Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic.

The result was perennial challengers Germany's first defeat at the group stage of a World Cup tournament since 1986, when then-West Germany were beaten by Denmark. That year, the three-times world champions went on to reach the final.

It also marked the latest setback for the tournament's traditional giants following Switzerland's win over Spain and Mexico's win over France.

German coach Joachim Loew admitted it was a big setback for his team.

"We had a lot of problems, the double yellow card for Klose, they got the first goal, then we failed to score from the penalty spot -- all in all it was difficult to come to terms with all this, " he told AFP.

"We're devastated of course but I'm still confident we will go through to the last 16. we have our fate in our own hands still and a good goal difference."

We're devastated of course but I'm still confident we will go through to the last 16
--Joachim Loew
RELATED TOPICS
  • Germany
  • Serbia
  • Joachim Loew
  • FIFA World Cup

The result lifts Serbia's chances of qualifying from group D following their 1-0 defeat by Ghana in their opening game. They are now tied with Germany on three points following the Germans' 4-0 win over Australia.

A win for Ghana over Australia on Saturday would put the west African side firmly on course for a place in the last 16 -- while a win for Australia would leave all four teams tied on three points

Match winner Jovanovic turned in Nikola Zigic's header from close range following good work down the right by the impressive Milos Krasic on 38 minutes.

Two minutes earlier, Germany had been reduced to 10 men when Klose picked up his second yellow card of the game for a clumsy challenge on Dejan Stankovic.

Klose, who is chasing Brazilian striker Ronaldo's record of 15 goals in World Cup tournaments, had earlier been booked for catching Branislav Ivanovic's ankles, and suspension will now rule him out of Germany's final group game against Ghana on June 23.

But Klose appeared to be a victim of some fussy refereeing by Spanish official Alberto Undiano Mallenco, with seven other players also picking up bookings for minor offences.

Germany came close to equalizing in the last minute of the half following a series of corners when Sami Khedira slammed a shot against the bar but Serbia's defenders scrambled away the rebound.

Serbia, one of Europe's most impressive sides in World Cup qualifying, had seemed happy to concede possession and defend deep in the early stages with German midfielders Khedira and Mehsut Ozil struggling to find space in the center.

Podolski flashed an early volley wide of the Serbian goal and Thomas Mueller combined neatly with Bastian Schweinsteiger on 30 minutes to play in Klose, but the German striker was called offside before putting the ball into the net.

Serbia's main threat came from Krasic down the right, with Holger Badstuber and Philipp Lahm both picking up bookings for fouls on the CSKA Moscow midfielder. Aleksandar Kolarov went close from the second of those, clipping a freekick from the edge of the penalty area just wide of the post.

Germany pressed hard for an equalizer early in the second half and looked to be back in the game when Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic was punished for a handball in the penalty area in a virtual repeat of the incident that saw his side concede a penalty in their opening defeat by Ghana.

But Podolski's low shot was solidly blocked by goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic diving to his left. Podolski had already twice gone close, flashing a shot across the goal from Ozil's defense-splitting pass and then shooting into the side netting after being set up by the same player.

Serbia almost increased their lead on 66 minutes when the ever dangerous Krasic cut in from the left to set up Jovanovic but the striker's low placed shot bounced to safety off the inside of the post. Zigic then glanced the top of the bar with a header, again from a cross from the right by Krasic.

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