World Cup 2010 - Germany hit four past Australia
Germany kicked off their World Cup Group D campaign in convincing fashion with a 4-0 hammering of 10-man Australia in Durban.
Joachim Loew's side, picked from a squad with an average age of 25, were simply too good for Australia, although the Socceroos' cause was not helped by the dismissal of Tim Cahill early in the second half.
But, even before Australia were reduced to 10 men, the three-times world champions had proved their class with the excellent Mesut Ozil conducting the show.
The Weder Bremen man's vision and passing throughout the 73 minutes he was on the pitch were exceptional and he had a hand in two of the goals while laying on many more chances for his team-mates.
Having survived an early scare when Tim Cahill miscued a header and neither Lucas Neill nor Richard Garcia could net the rebound in the opening minutes, Germany never looked back.
Ozil's first notable act of the day was to play the ball through to Klose, who should have netted the opening goal on seven minutes.
But the Bayern Munich striker, who scored just three times for his club last season and was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI, could only fire straight at Mark Schwarzer.
Podolski made no mistake to break the deadlock a minute later, striking a first-time thunderbolt past Schwarzer after Ozil had found the run of Mueller with a delightful pass.
Klose, the last winner of the World Cup's golden boot, then spurned another glorious chance as Ozil fed Podolski, whose cross invited him to sidefoot home from close range; instead he sliced wide of the post, although he did make his mark two minutes later.
He gave Germany a two-goal lead with a simple header into an empty net after Schwarzer come off his line to claim, unsuccessfully, Philipp Lahm's cross. The goal was Klose's 11th in the finals and saw him move closer to Brazilian Ronaldo's record of 15 goals.
Ozil himself could have added a third before the half-time break but his dink over Schwarzer was cleared off the line.
Australia, as they had done at the beginning of the match, started the second half in determined mood, and they had a big handball shout dismissed when Garcia's header struck Per Mertesacker's arm in the box.
But any hope of an already unlikely comeback was dashed with the dismissal of Cahill on 56 minutes. The Everton man was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger, although there was no malicious intent and he can consider himself unfortunate to now be suspended for Australia's next game against Ghana.
Germany used their advantage to turn the screw on a now deflated Australia side, and Mueller made it three on 68 minutes with a neat turn past Scott Chipperfield and shot that went in off the base of the post.
Cacau was introduced as a 69th minute substitute and he wasted no time in announcing himself to the tournament, spurning one chance before sidefooting home Ozil's square ball from the by-line - all within two minutes of his introduction.
It could easily have been worse for Pim Verbeek's Australia side, and would have been had it not been for some fine saves by Schwarzer. But the damage had already been done and it will now take some performances against Ghana and Serbia to get out of Group D.
Germany, meanwhile, continued their record of having won their opening match at each of the last five World Cups while laying down the gauntlet to their title rivals with a ominous performance of no little class.
Germany v Australia
1st Half Goals 2-0
Shots on Target 9-2
Shots off Target 7-6
Blocked Shots 1-3
Yellow Cards 2-3
Red Cards 0-1
Passing Success 91.7%-87.1%
Tackles Success 60%-92.3%