Germany secured their place in Brazil with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Ireland in their World Cup Group C qualifying match.
Sami Khedira’s 12th minute opener set the tone in what was a hugely one sided affair, before Andre Schurrle’s well-taken goal doubled the hosts lead after the break. Mesut Ozil capped a wonderful evening for the hosts, scoring a third in stoppage time to send Germany into the World Cup finals.
The hosts were relentless in their attempts to find the back of the net throughout the 90 minutes, forcing Ireland deep into their own half as the Germans attacked in numbers.
David Forde was at his very best, denying Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Schurrle on separate occasions but could do nothing as Khedira’s shot took a wicked deflection off Ciaran Clark and into the back of the net.
Ireland’s only chance of the half came moments before half-time when Clark’s smart header from 12 yards crashed back off the crossbar and away to safety.
Schurrle was able to convert a well-worked corner with little over half an hour to go, putting the contest well beyond doubt, if it wasn’t so already.
Ireland searched for a consolation goal at the death but were caught out by a swift counter-attack, Ozil clipping the ball over the outstanding Forde from a tight angle.
12’ – GOAL: Germany find the net after just 12 minutes, but it’s a very fortuitous strike. Stokes gives the ball away in his own half and it falls to Lahm who feeds Khedira on the edge of the penalty area. Khedira takes one touch to set himself before shooting on goal. The effort is scuffed but ricochets off Clark and flies beyond the despairing Forde.
35’ – CHANCE: Great save from Forde. Lahm gets in behind Kelly and stands the ball up at the far post. Schurrle leaps tremendously well to send a header on goal from eight yards, but Forde is placed well to beat away the danger.
38’ - CHANCE: Another great stop from Forde. Muller cuts inside from the left, brushing off the challenge of Wilson before sending a wicked left-footed effort on goal. The Ireland keeper makes good ground to smartly tip the effort over the bar.
45+1’ – CHANCE: CROSSBAR!! Gibson’s set-piece is played short to Whelan who lofts the ball into the penalty area from the left. Clark rises highest at the far post, beating Mertesacker to the ball and sending a header towards goal. Neuer is back-peddling and can do nothing but watch the ball crash off the bar and away to safety. So close for the visitors.
58’ – GOAL: Schurrle adds Germany’s second of the night. Ozil’s corner from the right is played short to Muller who feeds the ball to Kroos on the edge of the penalty area. The Bayern man fakes to shoot before lofting a clever ball over the top of the Ireland defence and into the path of Schurrle. A wonderful first touch allows the Chelsea forward to roll the ball past the despairing Forde.
71’ – CHANCE: Schurrle’s devilish ball from the left is met by the diving Muller at the far post. Muller’s effort from close-range is on target but, once again, Forde is able to make the stop – saving with his feet.
73’ – CHANCE: Great double stop from Neuer. Coleman’s initial effort from distance is saved well down low before the German keeper is up well to deny McCarthy’s follow-up.
90+2’ – GOAL: Germany add a third with the last kick of the game. The hosts counter-attack following an Ireland corner. Jansen carries the ball out of his penalty area and into the Ireland half to play in Kroos. The midfielder produces a defence-splitting pass which allows for Ozil to take the ball in his stride and chip Forde from close range.
TALKING POINT: Can anybody stop Germany? Joachim Loew's side will now go into the World Cup finals as one of the favourites to lift the Jules Rimet trophy. Solid in every position and with suitable cover throughout the squad, any team that can beat Die Mannschaft will surely go a long way in Brazil.
Germany have scored three or more goals in every single match at home throughout their qualifying campaign.
The win sees Germany qualify as the third European nation to reach the World Cup.
Mesut Ozil has now scored seven goals this qualifying campaign. Only Edin Dzeko and Robin van Persie have scored more.
MAN OF THE MATCH
David Forde, Ireland - It's not often that a goalkeeper concedes three goals and is awarded man of the match, but Forde is more than worthy of the accolade. If it wasn't for the Ireland stopper then Germany could have well hit double figures.
GERMANY: Neuer 6, Lahm 7, Mertesacker 6, Boateng 6, Jansen 7, Khedira 7, Schweinsteiger 6, Kroos 7, Ozil 8, Schurrle 8, Muller 7...SUBS: Sam 5, Kruse 5, Gotze 6
IRELAND: Forde 9, Coleman 6, Delaney 7, Kelly 5, Clark 6, Whelan 6, Gibson 6, McCarthy 6, Wilson 5, Doyle 5, Stokes 6
MATCH IN A TWEET