For 1 night, the Beautiful Game belonged to Germany.
Known more as a methodical team than a brilliantly creative one such as Brazil, the Germans scored several lovely goals yesterday in a 4-0 rout of Australia in front of 62,660 at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Germany scored two goals in each half and Australia's Tim Cahill was sent off as the three-time champions surged to the top of Group D at the World Cup.
"I think the way we set up our attacks is something we've been working on intensively," German coach Joachim Loew said. "But we've also worked on how we play off the ball, to move into unused space. We were very good on the ball tonight, and we created beautiful goals."
Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose scored in the first 30 minutes, Thomas Mueller and Cacau also scored against an overwhelmed Australian defense in the second half after Cahill was red-carded in the 56th minute.
"We earned respect for ourselves," said Klose, who has scored 11 goals in the last three World Cups "It was hugely important to win the first game, but nothing is won yet. We're a young team and we have fun playing."
Germany has not lost an opening game in the World Cup since a 2-1 defeat to Algeria in 1982.
While Germany is in excellent shape for advancement already, the Socceroos are desperate.
"The next game is a final," Verbeek said of the match with Ghana. "We have to win that game."
In yesterday's other games:
* At Polokwane, Robert Koren scored a late goal to give Slovenia a 1-0 win over 10-man Algeria and first place in Group C, ahead of the United States and England. It was the first-ever World Cup victory for Slovenia, the smallest nation in the tournament with a population of around 2 million.
There was some commotion in the stands during halftime when former French great Zinedine Zidane, who is of Algerian descent, was forced to climb to a higher section to get away from autograph-seeking fans.
Slovenia faces the U.S. on Friday in Johannesburg, while Algeria travels to Cape Town to take on England.
* At Pretoria, Asamoah Gyan scored on an 84th-minute penalty kick as Ghana beat Serbia, 1-0, in a Group D match. Serbia's Zdravko Kuzmanovic needlessly handled a high cross in the penalty area, then argued the call and yellow card he received.
Twenty-one-year-old Neven Subotic, who grew up in the United States and played on U.S. under-17 and under-20 national teams, played 14 minutes for Serbia. He was born in Yugoslavia, and switched his playing allegiance to his native land in 2009.
* Armed riot police charged into hundreds of security stewards at Durban's World Cup stadium hours after the Germany-Australia match to break up a protest about low wages.