World Cup rookie Croatia produced one of the biggest upsets in soccer history Saturday when it defeated three-time champion Germany 3-0 to reach the semifinals.
Robert Jarni scored on a 25-yard shot at the end of the first half eight minutes after German defender Christian Woerns was ejected for hauling down Croatian striker Davor Suker.Goran Vlaovic added a second goal on a 20-yard shot with about 10 minutes left, and Suker scored the third goal five minutes later.
Croatia, which became a nation just seven years ago after breaking away from Yugoslavia, is the first team since Portugal in 1966 to advance to the semifinals in its first World Cup. The Croats meet France on Wednesday at the Stade de France just outside Paris for the right to play in the final.
It was the second straight quarterfinal defeat for the Germans, who were knocked out of the '94 Cup by Bulgaria.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, regarded as a lucky fan because he hasn't seen the German team lose since 1986, was in the crowd at the Stade de Gerland for one of its lowest moments.
The game featured rough play and fouls throughout. Croatia's Igor Stimac and Dario Simic and Germany's Jorg Heinrich all were given the yellow-card warning in a seven-minute period early in the game for needless tackles that sent opponents sprawling.
The Germans nearly struck first when Dietmar Hamann's 8-yard header grazed the crossbar after a free-kick from Thomas Haessler.
Croatian goalkeeper Drazen Ladic then made an impressive double save in the 31st minute when Oliver Bierhoff jumped to head another crossing pass. Ladic saved the header at the foot of the post and, with Juergen Klinsmann swooping in to try to score on the rebound, the keeper reacted quickly to kick the ball to safety.
Once Woerns was ejected and the Germans were forced to play a man down, their attacks lost their punch and the Croats were able to take advantage.
With the ball 40 yards from the German goal, Suker dribbled inside the defender and appeared to have a breakaway. Woerns missed the ball and swept Suker's legs from under him, and with the Croat writhing on the ground, the referee reached into his back pocket for the red card.
It looked even worse for the shorthanded Germans when the Croats went ahead.
Jarni collected a pass from Mario Stanic and drove a low left-footed shot past goalkeeper Andreas Koepke for the first score.
At that point, the Germans needed another amazing comeback. Against Yugoslavia, they came back from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 tie and beat the Mexicans 2-1 after trailing with 15 minutes to go.
They came close to coming back against Croatia just five minutes into the second half when a shot from Bierhoff on a 6-yard volley was blocked by Ladic on his line.
With about 12 minutes left, German midfielder Michael Tarnat fired a low 25-yard shot from a free kick that was deflected and hit the outside of the post.
A minute later it was all over for the Germans.
With the German defense retreating, Vlaovic moved into a shooting position on the edge of the area and fired a low drive that flew past Koepke and just inside the post.
With the Germans committed to attack, they left huge gaps at the back and Suker easily got round a defender with five minutes to go to fire a low, close range shot under Koepke.