Germany completes perfect 10 with victory over Belgium

German Football
By German Football October 12, 2011 04:56

Germany completes perfect 10 with victory over Belgium

Germany completed a perfect EURO 2012 qualifying campaign with their tenth win from ten games by beating Belgium 3-1 in Dusseldorf.

Two goals in the space of three first-half minutes from Mesut Ozil and Andre Schurrle put the hosts on course for yet another victory, with Mario Gomez adding a third just after the interval. Marouane Fellaini grabbed a consolation in the 86th minute but it was not enough for Belgium to finish second in Group A.

Having already qualified for next summer’s championships in style, Germany could have been forgiven for taking it easy, but there was no evidence of that as they tore the Belgians apart with another impressive victory, much to coach Joachim Löw’s satisfaction.

“It was important that we finished it off like this, simply to show that the Germans never let up,” he said. “We never wanted to be open to criticism that we could influence the competition with a poor performance. We did not want to win this game for Turkey, but for us.”

Germany’s win meant Turkey needed just a draw from their match against Azerbaijan to clinch a place in the play-offs for Poland and Ukraine. For Germany goalscorer Ozil, whose family is Turkish, there was therefore two reasons to celebrate.

“Of course I am delighted for my Turkish friends,” he told ZDF after discovering that Turkey had beaten Azerbaijan 1-0. “I hope that they now qualify for the European Championships via the play-offs. We desperately wanted to win our last game. We had a few difficulties to start with, but after going 1-0 up, we settled down and deserved to win.”

Belgium needed Turkey to lose at home to Azerbaijan but were left disappointed as Guus Hiddink’s side clinched second spot with their 1-0 win. Knowing that a victory would be enough to assure them of a place in the play-offs for EURO 2012, they started brightly in Dusseldorf.

They spent most of the first ten minutes inside the Germany half, but never troubled Manuel Neuer in the German goal. The first chance of note fell to Schuerrle, who sent a curling shot just wide of the far post midway through the first-half.

Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet then raced off his line to deny Gomez, before the hosts took the lead half an hour in thanks to a sensational strike.

Toni Kroos’ corner was met by Sami Khedira, whose shot was blocked. However, the Real Madrid midfielder did not give up and he squared the ball to Ozil, who thumped home a shot off the underside of the bar from the edge of the box.

Belgium barely had time to regroup before they fell further behind three minutes later at the end of a devastating counter-attack. A Belgian corner was cleared to Ozil on the edge of his own area, and he headed the ball into the path of Gomez, who drove at the visiting defence before slipping in Schürrle. The Bayer Leverkusen man then beat Mignolet with the coollest of chips.

Gomez almost made it three on the stroke of half-time but, after a neat one-two with Khedira to get in around the back of the Belgium defence, his shot was blocked by Mignolet. The Bayern Munich striker did not have to wait too long for his goal, though.

He scored Germany’s third in the 48th minute after being put through by Ozil and taking the ball past Vincent Kompany before leaving Mignolet no chance with a shot from the edge of the area.

Fellaini grabbed a consolation with a header from Axel Witsel’s corner, but it was too little too late for Belgium as the defeat ended their hopes of qualifying for EURO 2012.

“Germany is a machine that plays with great intelligence,” Belgium coach Georges Leekens said. “Germany is among the European Championship title candidates along with Spain and Holland.”

German Football
By German Football October 12, 2011 04:56
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