The 2006 FIFA World Cup kicked off with plenty of fireworks in Germany on Friday as the hosts defeated Costa Rica 4-2 in Munich and Ecuador beat Poland 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen, all in Group A action.
Costa Rica, who feature Real Salt Lake defender Douglas Sequeira, gave a good account of themselves against the favored Germans, but the hosts shrugged off two defensive miscues and took the win thanks to some expert marksmanship.
Philipp Lahm opened the scoring for Germany in the sixth minute, curling his shot from the left side of the box against the far post and in. But the ticos unexpectedly fired right back, Paulo Wanchope slotting home in the 12th minute after beating the German offside trap. Miroslav Klose knocked in a Bastian Schweinsteiger cross in the 17th minute to make it 2-1 and then doubled his tally in the 61st, following up his own header that was spilled by Costa Rican 'keeper Jose Porras.
Wanchope again got behind the German rearguard in the 73rd minute to cut the lead in half, but Torsten Frings launched a 30-yard blast into the net in the 87th minute to seal the win. Sequeira went the full 90 for the ticos.
Ecuador allowed Poland to have the majority of possession in their opening match, but they struck when it counted to claim victory.
Carlos Tenorio got the South Americans on the board in the 24th minute, finishing a flick-on from a throw-in deep in the Poland end. After ceding possession to the Europeans for much of the remainder of the match, Ecuador struck on the counterattack through Agustin Delgado in the 80th minute.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.