Sport Soccer

Friday 24 November 2017

Germany ease past Kazakhs to move step closer to finals

Kazakhstan 0 Germany 3 Group C

WITHOUT using any strikers, germany eased past lowly Kazakhstan as they stayed top of the group and on course for qualification.

Two goals in two minutes midway through the first half from midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Goetze, playing in a forward role, quickly put the Germans in control and dashed any faint hopes for the hosts.

Thomas Mueller grabbed Germany's third goal in the 74th minute in a lacklustre second half after the second-bottom home side attempted a brief comeback and even hit the bar.

Despite a midnight kick-off to accommodate German viewers with a prime-time start back home and an artificial pitch, Germany did not need long to adapt.

Loew, whose 4-2-3-1 system had led Germany to two straight semi-finals in the past two major tournaments, opted for no forward in his 91st game in charge even before Thursday's injury to striker Mario Gomez.

The coach had only previously gone without a striker for a brief period in a friendly against France in February.

Goetze made an instant impact up front, charging past three defenders in a 20-metre solo run only to have his close-range effort smothered by keeper Andrei Sidelnikov.

But he could do nothing, however, in the 20th minute when Schweinsteiger flicked the ball over two defenders and volleyed in for the lead. Goetze doubled their lead two minutes later, firing into an empty goal after the keeper failed to hold on to a loose ball in the box.

Mueller rounded off matters in the 74th to make it 3-0 after good work from Goetze and Mesut Ozil to keep Germany on track for qualification to the World Cup in Brazil next year.

austria hit Faroes for six

AUSTRIA warmed up for Tuesday's crucial clash in Dublin by hammering the hapless Faroes 6-0 in Vienna.

The underdogs could only hold out for eight minutes before Philipp Hosiner gave Austria the lead and it was Hosiner who doubled the advantage after 20 minutes.

Eight minutes later Andreas Ivanschitz put the game beyond doubt when he scored the third.

The home side took their foot off the gas somewhat in the second half, however, they put in a late blitz with three goals in five minutes to lift their confidence ahead of Tuesday's game.

With 13 minutes remaining, Zlatko Junuzovic added a fourth before Bayern Munich's David Alaba and Gyorgy Garics finished matters off.

Irish Independent

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