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Germany on course for Brazil

Müller scores to seal victory over Faeroes

A footballing trip to the Faeroe Islands is always a challenge, but Germany have never lost a World Cup qualifying fixture away from home and maintained that proud record on Tuesday evening, as a line-up featuring five Bayern men defeated the side lying 175th in the world by a 3-0 scoreline. A seventh victory in eight qualifiers means Germany lead European Group C by five points from Sweden with two games to play. Joachim Löw’s side will wrap up first place and a direct qualifying berth for next summer’s finals in Brazil if they beat Ireland in Cologne on 11 October.

A 4,814 crowd in Torshavn saw the islanders put up a brave fight, but fall behind to the vastly superior visitors when Per Mertesacker headed home after 22 minutes. Mesut Özil scored a 74th minute penalty and Thomas Müller added the third six minutes from time, as the home side finished the match with ten men.

“It was a routine victory, but we expected it to be a little dour. The Faroes are good at defending, and they string ten men across their penalty box,” commented Löw, who felt his side lacked “the killer instinct” in front of their opponents’ goal. “We’ve done the job we came here to do. We knew the Faeroes are a determined defensive team, and we never expected fireworks,” observed Müller.

First-half focus

Löw made only one change to the team that defeated Austria in Munich last Friday, with Julian Draxler coming in for Dortmund’s Marco Reus, ruled out with illness. Bayern men Manuel Neuer, captain Philipp Lahm, Jérôme Boateng, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller all started the game.

The Germans were focused and hard-working against the ultra-defensive home side in the first half and created a string of chances, but Faeroes keeper Gunnar Nielsen played a blinder and the visitors hit the goal frame twice.

The long overdue lead resulted from a corner, Boateng flicking on at the near post for Arsenal centre-back Mertesacker to nod home. Löw’s men failed to extend their advantage, while Manuel Neuer was never seriously tested despite the islanders’ energetic but sporadic attacking efforts.

Müller wraps it up

After the restart, the Faeroes gave it their best shot and Christian Holst warmed Neuer’s gloves in the 65th minute, but the visiting professionals’ superior fitness began to tell, and a Sami Khedira header was cleared off the line, before Müller was fouled in the box when clean through. Atli Gregersen was sent off, and Özil made it 2-0 from the spot after 74 minutes.

Müller made the game safe in the 84th minute, controlling a Lahm cross and rifling home from eight yards, before departing the action with a satisfied smile on his face. The Irish, out of contention for the runners-up spot after losing to Austria in the parallel fixture, are Germany’s penultimate qualifying opponents before the final Group C match away to Sweden four days later.