Germany ease past Kazakhstan
Schweinsteiger, Gotze and Muller on target for Germans
Last Updated: 22/03/13 8:24pm
Germany: Remain on course in Group C of World Cup qualifying
Germany scored two goals in three first-half minutes to put them on course for a 3-0 win in Kazakhstan in World Cup qualifying Group C.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze's quickfire goals in the 20th and 22nd minutes unlocked the game for Joachim Low's men before Thomas Muller wrapped up victory for the Germans.
Kazakhstan tried to make a game of it, particularly in the second half, but the third goal knocked the stuffing out of them as they raised the white flag in Astana to remain on one point in the group.
The win takes Germany six points clear of Sweden ahead of another game against Kazakhstan in Nuremberg on Tuesday.
It was hardly the walk in the park that Germany had hoped for on the artificial pitch in Astana.
Low's charges appeared to be in perfect control of the game early on, but the final ball was lacking and, apart from a speculative shot from Julian Draxler, who left the field shortly after a clash of heads to be replaced by Lukas Podolski, the Kazakhstan goal was rarely threatened.
Germany finally made the breakthrough in the 21st minute when Schweinsteiger juggled the ball onto his right foot inside the penalty area and his snapshot, which appeared to take a decisive deflection off Muller, flew inside the far post.
Just a minute later, confusion between the Kazakhstan goalkeeper and a defender saw the ball spill out to Gotze, who chipped it in from 10 yards.
Germany failed to build on their two-goal advantage, though, and an enthusiastic crowd did what they could to lift their side's spirits.
It seemed to work with substitute Ulan Konysbaev rattling the crossbar with a fine 20-yard effort in the 69th minute.
Two minutes later, Heinrich Schmidtgal, who plies his trade in the Bundesliga for Greuther Furth, tested Manuel Neuer, who responded with an excellent one-handed save to protect the near side of is goal.
Muller then ended the home team's hopes with Germany's third in the 74th minute.
Another defensive mix-up led to Gotze playing in Mesut Ozil, who teed up Muller to stroke the ball in from eight yards.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 22nd Mar - Group F
Israel3 - 3Portugal
Luxembourg0 - 0Azerbaijan
Fri 22nd Mar - Group B
Bulgaria6 - 0Malta
Czech Rep0 - 3Denmark
Fri 22nd Mar - Group A
Croatia2 - 0Serbia
Macedonia0 - 2Belgium
Scotland1 - 2Wales
Fri 22nd Mar - Group E
Slovenia1 - 2Iceland
Norway0 - 1Albania
Fri 22nd Mar - Group C
Kazakhstan0 - 3Germany
Austria6 - 0Faroe Islands
Sweden0 - 0Rep Ireland
Fri 22nd Mar - Group D
Andorra0 - 2Turkey
Hungary2 - 2Romania
Holland3 - 0Estonia
Fri 22nd Mar - Group G
Liechtenstein1 - 1Latvia
Slovakia1 - 1Lithuania
Bos & Herz3 - 1Greece
Fri 22nd Mar - Group H
Moldova0 - 1Montenegro
Poland1 - 3Ukraine
San Marino0 - 8England
Fri 22nd Mar - Group I
Spain1 - 1Finland
France3 - 1Georgia
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I