Germany take control with fourth win
© AFP

FIFA World Cup™ semi-finalists Germany confirmed their leadership of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A with a confident 3-0 win over hosts Kazakhstan tonight.

Miroslav Klose, second-half substitute Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski scored one apiece to maintain Germany's perfect record: 12 points from four matches, six points ahead of second-placed Austria, who were playing Belgium later. Turkey, who suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Azerbaijan, sit third also on six points.

German coach Joachim Low was delighted to negotiate a long trip into the unknown. "We achieved our goal against opponents who made life difficult through their athleticism and discipline," Low told German television.

I cannot ask for more. We are all the more comfortable after the surprise loss for the Turks - but we still must win more matches before we can go to Euro 2012.
Joachim Low, Germany coach

"I expected this sort of match from the Kazakhs. We made quite a few errors but that was a problem of adaptation to the pitch with its articifial grass. We have 12 points and we are in a good place. I cannot ask for more. We are all the more comfortable after the surprise loss for the Turks - but we still must win more matches before we can go to Euro 2012."

The hosts started well as they sought an early opener but their attempts proved fruitless. Germany replied positively, pinning their rivals back and threatening through Podolski, Thomas Muller and Klose. Even so, their pressure was to no immediate avail as the visitors lacked accuracy in front of Kazakhstan's net.

Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil had chances shortly before the break but the hosts' keeper Andrei Sidlenikov, the most overworked player on the pitch, repelled everything thrown at him in the opening period. But three minutes after the interval Sidelnikov was unable to keep out a precise shot by Germany's sharpshooter Klose, who broke the deadlock by firing home following a precise through ball from Podolski.

Kazkahstan poured into attack seeking an equaliser and created a couple of chances but both shots by midfielder Heinrich Schmidtgal missed the target.

In the 76th minute Gomez, who replaced Klose, made it 2-0, netting after a one-two combination with Podolski to banish any fears of a shock. Podolski rounded off the scoring, sending the ball home past a helpless Sidelnikov following a piece of good individual work with five minutes to go.