Germany beats Belgium 3-1 in Euro qualifier

BY foxsports • October 11, 2011

Mesut Oezil scored one goal and set up another as Germany beat Belgium 3-1 in Group A on Tuesday to finish with a perfect record in qualifying for the 2012 European Championship and eliminate the visitors from a playoff spot.

Oezil put the home side ahead in the 30th minute after Real Madrid teammate Sami Khedira laid the ball back for the 22-year-old to unleash an 18-meter (yard) effort that went in off the crossbar.

Andre Schuerrle scored Germany's second from a counterattack three minutes later, before Oezil set up Mario Gomez for the third in the 48th.

Marouane Fellaini beat defender Per Mertesacker to an Axel Witsel corner at the near post to head in an 86th-minute consolation goal for the Belgians, who slipped to third in the group with the loss.

''It was difficult to get into the game in the beginning but then we showed what we can do,'' said Oezil, whose outstanding display will have pleased friends and family in the land of his roots. ''Of course I'm happy for Turkey.''

Turkey finished second to reach a playoff for a spot at Euro 2012 after beating Azerbaijan 1-0.

''We didn't want it to be said that we affected the competition with a weak performance. We didn't win for Turkey, but for ourselves first and foremost,'' Germany coach Joachim Loew said. ''It was important that we carried it through to the finish and as a message to our competitors.''

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said: ''The target to be the first German team to get 10 wins (in qualifying) was a major motivation.''

The visitors made the better start, however, forcing two corners in the first five minutes after some uncharacteristic errors in the German defense.

Belgium captain Vincent Kompany drilled a shot to the left in the 12th, two minutes before Schuerrle fired Germany's first chance well over.

Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet got the better of a one-on-one with Gomez after Mueller set his Bayern Munich teammate through in the 30th, but Oezil scored from the resultant corner.

Khedira's initial shot from Toni Kroos' corner was blocked before he spotted Oezil lurking behind and played the ball back for the playmaker to give Mignolet no chance.

Belgium sought an immediate response but Oezil turned defense to attack with a clever pass to Gomez, who played the ball forward for the advancing Schuerrle to coolly lift over the goalkeeper.

Eden Hazard's corner had alarm bells ringing in the German defense, before Jan Vertonghen's deflected effort whizzed by the left upright in the 42nd.

There was still time before the break for Mignolet to deny Gomez another great chance, but the Bayern Munich striker made amends when he sealed the win three minutes after the interval.

Oezil combined with Gomez, who controlled the ball with his right boot before shooting past the outstretched Mignolet with his left.

Ilkay Guendogan made his debut for Germany's senior side in the 84th, before Fellaini got ahead of Mertesacker to nick the ball past Neuer at the near post.

''Germany is a machine that plays with great intelligence,'' Belgium coach Georges Leekens said. ''Big Germany is among the European Championship title candidates along with Spain and Holland. But little Belgium showed for 25 minutes that it can play football too.''



Germany: Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Hoewedes, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira, Mesut Oezil, Andre Schuerrle, Thomas Mueller (Marco Reus, 71), Philipp Lahm (Ilkay Guendogan, 84), Per Mertesacker, Toni Kroos, Mario Gomez (Cacau, 77).

Belgium: Simon Mignolet, Laurent Ciman, Nicolas Lombaerts, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Timmy Simons, Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Marvin Ogunjimi (Romelu Lukaku, 46), Axel Witsel, Moussa Dembele (Dries Mertens, 64).

Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway).

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