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World Cup Qualifying - UEFA
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WC Qualification Europe
March 22, 2013
• Astana Arena, Astana
Referee: A. Kakos
• Attendance: 30000
T. Müller 20', 74'
M. Götze 22'
That's all from me, at least for now. I've been Daniel Edwards and it was a pleasure to join you for this clash, take care now.
To badly paraphrase the great Bob Marley, it was a case of No Striker, No Cry for Low's charges. Gotze put in a somewhat uneven showing as a False 9, and the men around him all did their bit to keep Kazakhstan on the back foot and chasing the game. Not a spectacular display, but the result was never in doubt.
That's all she wrote!! Germany take all the points from Astana Arena with a commanding 3-0 victory, leaving Die Meinnschaft in a great position for World Cup qualifying.
90' + 3'
Schmelzer appears in the box and tries to cap the game with his own goal, but off-balance the defender smashes wide.
90' + 1'
Germany finish this match down in Kazakh territory, Ozil and Lahm taunting the defence as they play with the ball and show off a few tricks.
Today, meanwhile, there is still a feast of European qualifiers to come. There is also a full schedule in South America, including Argentina's clash against Venezuela.
Yellow Card Benedikt Höwedes
Let's not forget that in less than a week, these two adversaries meet once more. The return clash comes on Tuesday afternoon in Germany.
Korobkin steamrolls Schweinsteiger and can see the goal ahead, but he looks disgusted as the whistle blows for a free-kick. The correct call.
Germany then are closing out this game in the same fashion as throughout the 90 minutes, pinging the ball back and forth, inviting their opponents to come and get it. The artificial pitch played little part in the end.
Neither the result nor the late kick-off have dampened the crowd's spirits, as this game is treated to a Mexican wave in its final minutes.
A comment from Hussain Naseem in the Live Match Centre, stating simply 'Borat Scores!' Hussain, I said at the start we were keeping Borat jokes to the minimum possible. Unless they're really funny.
With the game in the bag, Germany look to ring the changes. Who will be sitting out the last 10 minutes?
That goal occurred just three minutes after I decided to place a hex on the home team by floating the idea of a comeback. Kazakhstan, you have my humblest apology.
I should probably clarify, whether or not said lion is more dangerous wounded depends of the severity of the injury. If it is missing a leg, for example, the danger goes down several degrees. I still wouldn't take my chances though.
There's a reason why a wounded lion is more dangerous than ever. Germany were meandering their way through the half until that flurry of activity prompted them into action, and their response was ice cold. Brilliant, clinical attacking.
Assist Mesut Özil
GOAAAAAAL!!!! For the away side, game over. A stunning reverse pass from Ozil finds Muller, and it's too easy for the Bayern star as he slots in to kill the match off.
Goal Thomas Müller
Khedira strikes back after that excellent spell, blasting wide. Germany are rattled, and Kazakhstan want blood.
Neuer to the rescue!!!!!! Schmidtgal is released down the left, and places his shot perfectly from an acute angle. The keeper did very well to palm that away, it was heading in.
Anyone out there think Kazakhstan can still 'Do a Sweden' tonight? Let me know @DanEdwardsGoal
Yellow Card Bastian Schweinsteiger
So, so close!!!!! Substitute Konysbaev lets rip with a great shot, and Neuer is very relieved to see the effort crash back off the bar. That would have made for a very interesting last 20 minutes.
Because we all love an obscure Kazakh football stat, part three... The side's records for most caps and most goals are both held by Ruslan Baltiev, who retired from international football back in 2009. The midfielder played 73 times for his nation, scoring 13 goals.
A wonderful turn from Gotze sends the kid spinning away from his marker, but also from goal. He takes the shot, and it's comfortable for Sidelnikov to claim.
Yellow Card Victor Dmitrenko
A third yellow for the home team, Dimitrenko's most innocent expression fails to convince after hacking down Gotze from behind.
It looks like our enjoyment of the next half hour hangs on whether Kazakhstan will go all out to try and rescue something. If the game is left in Germany's hands, they'll happily pass the ball around the pitch until the end of eternity.
Podolski goes wide and looks for a team-mate in the middle, but has to settle for a corner. Great take from the Kazakh No. 1 as he claims the following cross.
Germany now are going back to the patience game, stroking the ball around and waiting for the gaps to appear. The hosts are not willing to oblige, running a tight ship in defence as they have for most of the game.
Once more disappointing from that range, slammed into the wall by Ozil. Not that it should make much difference to the final score mind.
Korobkin is booked for a clumsy challenge on Ozil, right on the paint of the 18-yard box. No penalty, but a decent free-kick chance.
Yellow Card Valeriy Korobkin
Almost a third!! Podolski tries to batter through, but twice his shots are blocked by Logvinenko. The forward eventually foul the tenacious defender, and the danger passes.
Dzholchiyev has exploded in these opening minutes! A neat flick makes Schmelzer look silly and he's off again, finishing with a shot that's comfortable for Neuer. By my count that's the first time the Bayern man has been called into action.
Khairullin takes the corner short, picks up the return pass and crosses, but it's far too long. Still, encouraging stuff from the home team, much better.
Dzholchiyev picks up the ball from deep and hares towards goal. The shot is released, and deflected behind by Khedira.
A glimmer of a chance for Dzholchiyev, he got the wrong side of Schmelzer but the full-back reacted instantly to restore his authority and take the ball.
To their credit, Kazakhstan are not lying down. A nice interchange around the box, only ended by a great Schweinsteiger challenge on Schmidtgol.
Germany enjoyed a whopping 79% of possession during the opening period, a stat that explains more or less why this game appears a foregone conclusion.
Heeeeeeeeeere we go! Kazakhstan kick off this time, and already give away the ball with an aimless long pass. This is going to be a long 45 minutes Kazakh fans.
The teams are back out, Germany now will want to cruise through the second half and continue their march towards Brazil with the minimum of fuss.
Because we all love an obscure Kazakh football fact, part two... Kazakhstan is the biggest country in Europe (population-wise) never to have qualified for a World Cup. You're welcome.
Low's men may not have filled the net in the first half, but that was an excellent combination of controlled possession football and ruthlessness in front of goal. Hard to see even at this early stage Kazakhstan taking anything from this match.
Referee Kakos takes a deep blast on the whistle, and we're in half time. Germany go into the interval two goals ahead, and looking supremely, pipe and slippers reading the newspaper by the fire, comfortable so far.
45' + 1'
Kazakhstan finish with a little flourish, pressuring Germany down by the box. A predictable end though, Dzholchiyev's work down the right culminates in a cross easily dealt with by Mertesacker.
Just like Bayern and Barca, where Germany look so good at the moment is off the ball. The movement when the likes of Ozil and Gotze take possession is phenomenal, and there is almost always an overlap available.
We're closing in on the end of the first half, and there have been few surprises as Germany grab this game by the scruff of the neck. Stay tuned during the break, as I'll be coming back with another brilliant Kazakh football fact.
The home team make painstaking progress down the right, but every move is complicated by the terrier-like Khedira. They finally make an advance, only to be caught out by an offside trap of military precision on the edge of the box.
Every time Kazakhstan try to advance, they are confronted by a brick wall in the middle in the shape of Khedira and Schweinsteiger. The pair are typical playground bullies, not letting the other kids play.
You've got to give credit to the home fans, they still aren't lowering the decibel count every time their heroes take a touch. Granted that happens roughly every 10 minutes right now, but it's still impressive.
If this was a boxing match, we'd be watching a cocky Muhammed Ali dancing circles round his opponent with swagger and arrogance, pausing every now and then to plant a teasing jab on the toiler's chin. Still, the knockout blow is still to come.
Gotze streaks forward on the counter, and lays off to Muller. The Bayern man has players to aim at, but the cross is blocked by the bootstraps of Kirov.
Still, I don't think it's aerially that Jogi Low's men will add more to the scoresheet. The kick travels high and long, finding nobody.
I can't remember the last time a man in blue touched the ball. Proof perhaps of my goldfishesque attention span, but equally of the dominance shown by Germany. Who now have a corner.
Die Mannschaft for now have an iron grip both on possession and the game, Schmelzer tries to convert that into more goals with a cross but, in the air at least, the hosts stay firm.
Germany have dropped the tempo just a shade here, looking themselves to vex their opponents and coax them out of their own half.
Difficult to see, however, how Kazakhstan can respond now. Their plan was to hold on and frustrate, now they have to go out and look for something.
Germany dealt two hammer blows in quick succession, and they're now cruising. Careful though, we could have said the same against a certain Scandanavian side a while back...
Goal Mario Götze
GOAL!!!! Again???? Yes, Mario Gotze finishes in the most opportune fashion after a rash decision from Sidelnikov to come out for a loose ball. Kazakhstan, after a solid start, sinking without trace.
Assist Bastian Schweinsteiger
Goal Thomas Müller
GOAL!!! It seemed inevitable, and now Germany have taken the lead. Schweinsteiger with a magnificent piece of individual skill to beat his marker, before volleying home.
Confirmation as well that Draxler will not continue, Podolski replaces the Schalke starlet in a very early change.
That's better from Mario, scurrying towards the byline before he flicked in the cross. Turned behind by the ever-attentive Kazakh rearguard.
OOOOOOH GOTZE!!!! The Dortmund kid was clean through, served perfectly by Schweinsteiger's flick, but over the bar. At the very least, that one had to hit the target.
What's happened to Draxler here? He came to the sidelines, apparently complaining about a problem with his vision. We'll try and get you more on that, but in the meantime it looks like he'll be making an early exit.
A neat little interchange on the right between Muller and Lahm, but the former was offside when running on to his Bayern team-mate's pass.
More lovely play by Germany, playing one-touch football and looking for space wide. So far though, the home team are doing well to stop Ozil & Co. advancing on goal.
Draxler again! Germany were probing on the edge of the area without breaking through, so the forward took matters into his own hands with a curling shot. Comfortable for the keeper to hold.
Schweinsteiger steps over and it's Ozil, but the execution disappoints and he hits into the wall
Yellow Card Yuri Logvinenko
Mulller is poleaxed on the edge of the area, and Logvinenko earns the first yellow of the night. This could be an excellent chance.
A warning from the hosts that they aren't here to make up the numbers. Germany are stretched on the counter and Khayrullin chases in the box, but the pass is just too strong and it's a goal kick.
First decent chance of the game and it falls to Germany. Draxler and Schmelzer combine, and the Schalke star pokes a low cross into the side-netting.
Kazakhstan are happy to let their rivals control the ball, dragging all 11 men into their own half. You get the feeling a battling draw would be a good result for the hosts.
Lovely play from Gotze, playing as a 'false 9' today. He wriggles through the middle of the defence but just runs out of space, and Sidelnikov falls gratefully on the ball.
So far they've looked fairly comfortable, keeping the passes short and on the deck. They're playing against a 12th man though, the Kazakh faithful cheer hysterically with every touch of the ball from a blue shirt.
The artificial pitch here at Astana Arena looks impeccable, but it will be interesting to see how quickly the away side adapts to the unfamiliar turf.
And we're off! Germany get us started for the first half of this World Cup qualifier.
Plenty of German sympathisers in the crowd by the looks of things, a young lady is snapped sporting a rather colourful 'I love Ozil' banner and there is already a good atmosphere around the ground.
Not too late, or indeed too early for your predictions, thoughts and comments. Send them my way via twitter @DanEdwardsGoal, the best I'll share with the world.
Because everyone loves an obscure, Kazakh-football based stat. Only two of the home squad ply their trade outside of the motherland. Where are Heinrich Schmidtgal and Konstantin Engel based? Why, in Germany - Greuther Furth and Energie Cottbus respectively.
And now for Die Mannschaft: Neuer - Schmelzer, Howedes, Mertesacker, Lahm - Schweinsteiger, Khedira - Draxler, Özil, Muller - Götze.
'The teams man, the teams!!' I hear you cry. Here we go. Starting with Kazakhstan... Sidelnikov - Engel, Logvinenko, Dmitrenko, Kirov - Nurdauletov, Bogdanov - Konysbaev, Khayrullin, Schmidtgal - Ostapenko.
Germany's last qualifying run-out was one to remember, a cracking 4-4 draw at home to Sweden after Zlatan's men turned round a four-goal deficit. It ruined Joachim Low's 100 per cent record in Group 3, but they start as red-hot favourites to pick up maximum points here.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me extend a warm welcome to today's World Cup qualifying action in Kazakhstan, as Germany hope to keep up their unbeaten run with another victory against Friday's hosts. My name is Daniel Edwards, and I'll be keeping Borat jokes to a merciful minimum as I take you through the encounter.
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