Oct 10, 2016

    Germany stay on top, Czech-mate visitors


    THOMAS Mueller netted twice as Germany eased to a 3-0 home win over the Czech Republic to keep them top of their World Cup qualifying group on Saturday.

    It leaves Germany with a perfect six points ahead of tomorrow's next qualifier, home to Northern Ireland, who beat San Marino 4-0 in Belfast.

    "We can be very happy with the win and we had a good grip on the game," said Germany coach Joachim Loew.

    "After 60 minutes, you could see the opposition had run themselves into the ground and didn't have any more clear chances."

    After Mueller gave Germany an early lead, Toni Kroos weighed in with a crisp strike.

    Mueller then hit Germany's third with the best goal of the game midway through the second half.

    "We're very serious about these two games (against the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland), we could have scored more goals but we delivered a very concentrated performance," said Mueller.

    "The fans deserve some praise, the atmosphere was really good. It made it even more fun to play for Germany and, of course, I am happy to have scored twice."

    Centre-backs Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng were outstanding in shutting down the Czech attack and putting in damaging long-range passes.

    With his only out-and-out striker, Mario Gomez, injured, Loew opted to play Mario Goetze as his lone striker, in front of attacking midfielder Mesut Oezil with Julian Draxler and Mueller on the wings.

    The Czech Republic dealt Loew the heaviest home defeat of his 10-year tenure when they won 3-0 in Munich in October 2007 in a Euro qualifier.

    But with veteran midfielder Tomas Rosicky injured and goalkeeper Petr Cech now retired, Czech shot-stopper Tomas Vaclik had a busy night.