Germany surrendered their 100 per cent record in UEFA EURO 2008™ Group D as Cyprus came from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw in Nicosia. Michael Ballack had fired Germany into an early lead but a wonderful strike from Yiannis Okkas earned the home side a deserved point.
Ballack celebrated his 75th international appearance with his 35th goal for his country as his sweetly struck free-kick from more than 25 metres took a deflection on its way into the corner of the Cyprus net. Germany came close to a second after 26 minutes when David Odonkor set up Bastian Schweinsteiger on the left edge of the penalty area but his effort was well saved by Antonis Georgallides.
The hosts were in no mood to capitulate, however, and Okkas earned a yellow card after 40 minutes for a reckless lunge. He made a more meaningful contribution two minutes later: Efstathios Aloneftis finding space down the left and whipping in a threatening cross which was met perfectly by Okkas's fierce right-footed volley from just outside the box.
Cyprus threatened again soon after the restart when Michalis Konstantinou charged down goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand's clearance but his subsequent shot was blocked. Minutes later, Angelos Anastasiadis's team had the ball in the net again but Okkas's close-range finish was ruled out for offside.
Then, in the 58th minute, Germany spurned an opportunity as Odonkor's cross fell for Schweinsteiger but he miscued his strike when well-placed. Cyprus responded with Aloneftis's cross-cum-shot going narrowly wide of the far post with Hildebrand a spectator, while Schweinsteiger and Mike Hanke squandered openings for Joachim Löw's men.
The game lost momentum thereafter but Cyprus, who play Slovakia at home in March, will be happy with a draw that lifts them to four points from four games. Germany join the Czech Republic, whom they visit on 24 March, on top of the pool with ten points from the same number of matches.