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Workmanlike Germany Advances With 2-0 Win

By Nesha Starcevic
Associated Press
Thursday, June 25, 1998; 5:02 p.m. EDT




MONTPELLIER, France — Two precision goals highlighted a workmanlike performance as Germany advanced to the second round of the World Cup with Thursday night's 2-0 victory over Iran.

Oliver Bierhoff and Juergen Klinsmann scored early in the second half as Germany won Group F and will face Mexico in the second round Monday, also at Montpellier.

Germany won the group on goal difference ahead of Yugoslavia, which defeated the United States 1-0 in the night's other match. Iran, which scored its first-ever World Cup victory over the United States on Sunday, was eliminated.

Thomas Haessler and Bierhoff, the combination that worked so well when Germany won the European Championship two years ago, connected again to open the scoring in the 50th minute.

Haessler made a perfect right-wing cross to Bierhoff, who left defenders Mohammad Khakpour and Mehdi Pashazadeh bumping into each other as his header bounced high into the net from 8 yards.

The second goal, in the 58th minute, was also a well-crafted piece of soccer. Jorg Heinrich chased down a long pass and one-touched the ball right to Bierhoff, who one-timed his shot off the left post. Klinsmann was there for the easy rebound, putting it in with an acrobatic, diving header.

The game pitted Germany's methodical precision against Iran's swift counterattacks. Iran came out with a defensive strategy, choking the German offense and countering whenever possible.

Iranian goalkeeper Ahmad Abedzadeh didn't have a difficult save in the first half, while counterpart Andreas Koepke had to dive to his right to stop Karim Bagheri's 35-yard drive.

Iran stepped up the attack after falling behind, but Germany had the better scoring chances. Bierhoff was just wide in the 60th and also missed the target with a header in the 86th.

Klinsmann's goal was his eighth in World Cup first-round play. He scored four times in Germany's three opening-round games in the United States four years ago, twice in the 1990 group matches in Italy, and also had one in the Germans' France 98 opening win against the Americans.

Before the game, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel met with French police providing security at the stadium. Kinkel also expressed his government's sympathy for French police officer Daniel Nivel, who was beaten into a coma by German hooligans Sunday after the Germany-Yugoslavia game in Lens.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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