Saturday 16 November 2019

Kruse saves more Germany blushes

Germany's Max Kruse scores the winning goal against Georgia
Germany's Max Kruse scores the winning goal against Georgia

Jamie Holland

Three-times European champions Germany needed a 79th-minute goal from substitute Max Kruse to beat Georgia 2-1 and book their place in the Euro 2016 finals after another wasteful performance in their final Group D match.

Germany squandered more than a dozen clear scoring chances in the first half alone against their weaker opponents before a 50th-minute penalty from Thomas Mueller finally put them ahead.

Georgia, already out of the running, levelled three minutes later with captain Jaba Kankava's superb 20-metre volley.

Kruse came to the rescue three minutes after coming on by slotting home from a Mesut Ozil pass to make sure the world champions, who had to put celebrations on hold after last Thursday's shock 1-0 loss in Ireland, finished top on 22 points.

Steven Fletcher scored his second Group D hat-trick against Gibraltar as Scotland concluded their failed qualification campaign with a 6-0 win over the section minnows at the Estadio Algarve in Faro.

Gordon Strachan's makeshift side - seven changes from the one which started in the 2-2 draw against Poland last Thursday, which ended their hopes - went in at the interval two goals to the good after Chris Martin's first international goal was followed by a wonderful Shaun Maloney strike.

Fletcher, who scored three in the 6-1 win over Gibraltar at Hampden in March, netted twice in four minutes after the break and then grabbed another with a fine 85th-minute finish before Steven Naismith, on for Martin, made it 6-0 in added time.

Irish Independent

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