Germany may have only brought its "B-team" to Florida but it hardly mattered, as the Germans easily dispatched Ecuador in a friendly, 4-1.
Behind two goals apiece by Lukas Podolski and Lars Bender, the Germans built a 4-0 lead in the first 23 minutes and never looked back.
Just nine seconds into the game—yes, nine seconds—Ecuador turned the ball over deep in its own zone and Podolski struck, scoring the game's first goal. It was a miserable start for Ecuador, and a bit of history for Germany (via ESPN's Ian Darke):
And it only got worse. Much, much worse.
Just four minutes later, Bender scored the game's second goal after being played into a wide open gap between the Ecuadorian defense by Podolski. For an Ecuador side trying to ramp up for key World Cup qualifiers and a German side playing far from full strength, this was a shocking start to the game.
Podolski wasn't done, but apparently Ecuador was.
After Max Kruse was played behind the Ecuadorian defense in the 17th minute, he centered a feed for a wide open Podolski in the box, and the Arsenal man didn't miss, scoring his second goal of the game.
That goal put Podolski just behind some pretty impressive company, as Paul Carr of ESPN noted:
Six minutes later, Germany scored again. And not to be outdone by Podolski, it was Bender who added his name to the score sheet for a second time.
It was a pretty simple goal, really. Bender found himself on the edge of the box and wasn't closed down by any of Ecuador's defenders, so he simply ripped a shot toward the net. Máximo Banguera was able to get a hand on the ball but couldn't completely stop it, as the shot deflected into the net.
Ecuador's efforts caused ESPN announcer Darke to question how the team has fared so well in World Cup qualification:
Ecuador would finally show some life in the attack in the 30th minute, as Jefferson Montero ripped a shot for goal. But his effort just missed dipping under the bar, deflecting away from the goal instead before being cleared to safety.
Felipe Caicedo had an opening in the 33rd minute after cutting back onto his left foot, but his shot on the right side of the box was easily saved by Rene Adler. It was both a missed opportunity and a worrisome moment for Ecuador, as Caicedo appeared to injure a hamstring on the play and had to leave the game.
Ecuador at least showed signs of life late in the half. Benitez ripped a shot toward goal in the 42nd minute but Adler came up with a nice stop, maintaining Germany's huge lead.
But just before halftime, Manchester United's Antonio Valencia earned one back for Ecuador. A low Renato Ibarra cross was played back to Valencia on the edge of the box, who ripped home Ecuador's first goal of the game.
Still, it was a disappointing effort in the first half by Ecuador, one that Max Bretos of ESPN put into context nicely:
Ecuador was the stronger side to open the second half, keeping Adler busy early. Valencia, Castillo and Montero were each denied in the first 15 minutes of the second half by the German keeper.
Ecuador nearly cut the deficit to two in the 61st minute, as the club poured forward on a counter-attack. But Montero whiffed on his shot and after the ball found its way to a wide open Ibarra, his shot was blocked by a sprawling Heiko Westermann.
Walter Ayovi cut the deficit to two in the 84th minute with a brilliant free kick. The ball was placed well right of the box but Ayovi somehow curled his effort from a nearly impossible angle into the net, beating Adler.
Ecuador's start to the game was a letdown, but the team did show some resolve and class as the game went on. It wasn't all negative for the South American club, while Germany basically sat back and let the game come to them in the second half, a bit of a disappointment after they were so strong early on.
Lukas Podolski, Germany: A+
He was easily the Man of the Match, scoring two goals and assisting on a third. That led Bleacher Report's Michael Cummings to wish Arsenal played Ecuador now and again.
I'm sure most Gunners' fans agree. Nonetheless, an excellent performance from Podolski.
Ecuador's Defense: F
The first goal was a terrible, careless turnover. The second was caused by a huge gap between defenders that Bender exploited. The third was an inability to track Podolski in the box. The fourth was a failure to close down Bender and allow him ample space to take a crack at goal.
Yes, they improved as the game went on, but the first 23 minutes from Ecuador's defense was nothing short of embarrassing.
Lars Bender, Germany: A
Mario Gotze, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and İlkay Gundogan who? Bender played quite well for Germany in this contest, scoring two goals and doing well to patrol the central midfield and keep Germany in control early in this contest. He showed why he's earned a solid spot on Germany's bench, and even a few looks with the first team.
Antonio Valencia, Ecuador: B+
He was clearly Ecuador's top player in this game, scoring the team's first goal and generally spearheading their runs forward. In a game in which the defense played so poorly, Ecuador's talisman winger proved he's still the club's most dangerous force.
|Juan Carlos Paredes||D||F|
|Gabriel Achilier (Off 67')||D||F|
|Christian Noboa (Off 60')||M||C|
|Segundo Castillo (Off 68')||M||C|
|Jefferson Montero (Off 81')||M||B+|
|Felipe Caicedo (Off 35')||F||C|
|Christian Benitez (Off 60')||F||B|
|Elvis Bone (On 35')||F||B|
|Joao Rojas (On 60')||F||B-|
|Pedro Quiñónez (On 60')||M||B|
|Jorge Guagua (On 67')||D||B-|
|Luis Saritama (On 68')||M||C|
|Marion De Jesus (On 81')||M||C|
|Benedikt Howedes|| |
|Lars Bender (Off 90')||M||A|
|Roman Neustadter (Off 66')||M||B-|
|Julian Draxler (Off 56')||M||C|
|Sidney Sam (Off 68')||M||B|
|Lukas Podolski (Off 89')||M||A+|
|Max Kruse (Off 78')||F||B|
|Aaron Hunt (On 56')||M||C|
|Stefan Reinartz (On 66')||M||B-|
|Andre Schurrle (On 68')||M||B-|
|Dennis Aogo (On 78')||F||C|
|Nicolai Müller (On 89')||M||Incomplete|
Philipp Wollscheid (On 90')
Germany will face the United States on Sunday in the second game on their United States tour, while Ecuador have key World Cup qualifiers against Peru on June 7 and Argentina on June 11.