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500th international victory

Germans avoid slip-up against minnows

Germany made a winning start to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, chalking up the 500th victory of their international history with an ultimately routine 3-0 win against the Faeroe Islands in Hanover on Friday night. The three-time World Cup winners now lead European qualifying Group C on goal difference from Ireland, 2-1 winners away to Kazakhstan.

A 32,769 crowd at the AWD-Arena saw Mario Götze hand coach Joachim Löw’s team a long overdue 28th-minute lead. Mesut Özil added a brace on 54 and 71 minutes to complete the victory for Germany, who now travel to Vienna on Tuesday to meet Austria, who are without the injured David Alaba.

“We’ve won 3-0 and taken three important points. The crucial thing for us was to avoid slip-ups. We can perfectly well live with the result,” said Thomas Müller, who joined FCB team-mates Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Holger Badstuber in the starting line-up. Jérôme Boateng spent the match on the bench, while Toni Kroos was absent injured.

The home team dominated from the start as expected and created a string of chances, but careless finishing robbed the crowd of an early goal to celebrate. Fully 28 minutes had passed before Dortmund’s Götze broke the deadlock with a fine piece of individual skill. The score could easily have been higher before half-time, but the EURO 2012 semi-finalists were guilty of carelessness in front of goal.

“We had plenty of chances but didn’t score the goals. It could have been 4-0 at half-time,” captain Lahm reflected afterwards. Löw’s choice words at the break had the desired effect, Özil applying a close-range finish to Müller’s textbook assist to double the advantage nine minutes after the restart. The Real Madrid playmaker then rounded off the scoring a quarter of an hour later.

“I think it was obvious we were set up to attack. I have to criticise the fact we made so many chances but scored so few goals. Not taking chances is our problem at the moment,“ commented Löw, who will now spend the next three days readying his team for the perennially tricky away trip to neighbouring Austria.