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Werner brace helps secure World Cup spot

Timo Werner scored a double as Germany became the first team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup thanks to a 4-0 win over North Macedonia in Monday’s Group J clash.

Hansi Flick’s side – who have now won all five games under their new head coach – seized the early initiative at the Tose Proeski Arena, with Timo Werner denied by the woodwork as the visitors registered 15 first-half shots.

However, Kai Havertz broke the deadlock after 50 minutes before Werner added a quickfire double to put the game out of the hosts’ reach.

Jamal Musiala then added a late fourth and, with Armenia dropping points against Romania, Germany claimed an unassailable eight-point lead at the summit to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Havertz teed up both Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller in the opening stages but neither could beat Stole Dimitrievski with headers, before Darko Velkovski nodded wide at the other end.

Serge Gnabry then poked narrowly wide and Werner, who was earlier denied from point-blank range by Dimitrievski, struck the left-hand post as Germany failed to make their 76.5 per cent first-half possession pay.

Flick’s team, however, opened the scoring after the interval as Muller raced onto Gnabry’s throughball before squaring for Havertz to tap into an empty net.

Werner was unfortunate to not double the lead after a ricochet off the North Macedonia goalkeeper 10 minutes later, but the Chelsea forward made amends.

Muller collected his second assist as he slotted through for Werner, who rifled an unstoppable right-footed volley into the bottom-right corner before curling into the same corner three minutes later following Florian Wirtz’s offload.

Gnabry should have added a fourth but he could only volley over from Muller’s chipped pass, though Musiala latched onto fellow substitute Karim Adeyemi’s ball to roll into the bottom-right corner and seal the victory.

What does it mean? Flick maintains perfect start as Germany secure World Cup berth

Flick won all there was to win with Bayern Munich and has carried on in a similar fashion with the national team, triumphing in his opening five games as Germany have scored 18 and conceded just once.

His perfect start has culminated in Die Mannschaft becoming the first team – barring host nation Qatar – to confirm their place at next year’s World Cup, while North Macedonia sit a point behind second-placed Romania with two games to go in the group stage.

Magical Muller

Germany outshot their opponents 24-7 and could have scored more but most of their creativity should be credited to Muller.

The Bayern Munich star made a game-high six key passes – three more than any team-mate and as many as the North Macedonia team combined – and registered five shots of his own in a dominant display.

Awful Alioski

Ezgjan Alioski endured a torrid outing against Germany’s wealth of attackers as he occupied the left-back spot.

The former Leeds United man won just over a third of his eight duels, gave away possession a game-leading 22 times and completed less than half of his 17 attempted passes.

What’s next?

Germany return to World Cup qualifying action on November 11 as they host Liechtenstein, while North Macedonia travel to Armenia on the same day.

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Germany has unveiled the logo for soccer’s 2024 European Championship during a ceremony with a light show in the stadium that will hold the final.

Some guests and media were invited to Berlin’s Olympiastadion for the UEFA launch, though no fans were present on a damp evening in the German capital on Tuesday.

The logo features an outline of the Henri Delaunay Cup – the bulbous tournament trophy – set on a coloured oval outline that resembles the Olympiastadion’s roof.

It features colours from the flags of UEFA’s 55 member nations, set in 24 slices around the trophy to represent the 24 teams that will ultimately qualify for the tournament in Germany.
Organisers said the brand will promote a tournament where diversity is celebrated, and everyone should feel welcome. The tournament’s slogan “United by Football. Vereint im Herzen Europas” – or “United at the Heart of Europe” – is meant to convey a message of togetherness and inclusion.

Also read: A controversial move by FIFA

Logos for each of the 10 host cities – Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart – were also presented with each featuring a famous local landmark. Berlin’s, for example, features the Brandenburg Gate.

“From now on, the tournament has a brand identity which reflects the ambition we have together with the host association and host cities,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said. The tournament is due to be played in June and July 2024 with the match schedule to be confirmed next year.

Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, with the final held in the refurbished Olympiasstadion. The stadium was originally built for the 1936 Olympic Games hosted by Nazi Germany. West Germany also hosted the World Cup in 1974 and the European Championship in 1988.

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WCQ: Germany clicks in Flick’s 2nd game to thrash Armenia

Midfielder Serge Gnabry scored two early goals as Germany rediscovered their form in front of goal to hammer Armenia 6-0 on Sunday and go top of World Cup qualifying Group J with 12 points from five games.

After Germany’s attack struggled in a laboured 2-0 win over Liechtenstein on Thursday, Gnabry netted twice in the opening 15 minutes with Marco Reus and Timo Werner both scoring before the break as they dismantled the Armenian defence with clever passing and deft flicks.

Jonas Hofmann added a fifth seven minutes after the break with a low bouncing drive, and substitute Karim Adeyemi put the icing on the cake with a goal on his international debut to make it 6-0 in second-half stoppage time.

The win means the Germans leap-frog Armenia to the top of the group, with their visitors now two points behind in second spot. Romania are third on nine points, one ahead of North Macedonia.

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Germany have been eliminated in the group stage of the men’s Olympic football tournament after a 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast at the Miyagi Stadium in Rifu on Wednesday.

Stefan Kuntz’s side, who won silver at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, came into the match a point behind Ivory Coast and knowing anything less than a victory would mean they were knocked out.

After a bright start by Germany, Ivory Coast grew into the game and took a deserve lead on 67 minutes when Benjamin Heinrichs bundled into his own goal.

Germany equalised six minutes later through Eduard Lowen’s stunning free kick to set up a tense finish but they were unable to find a winner.

Ivory Coast, unbeaten in the group, finished second to Brazil while third-place Germany joined Saudi Arabia in exiting the competition at the first hurdle.

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England beat Germany 2-0 at Wembley on Tuesday to reach the Euro 2020 quarterfinals thanks to second-half goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.

Both sides came into this match with question marks over them after unconvincing group stage performances with England scoring just twice despite topping the group while Germany needed a late goal against Hungary to seal their progress.

It was a game of few chances, though Jordan Pickford made an impressive save to deny Kai Havertz just after the interval, while Germany defender Mats Hummels produced an impressive goal line tackle to deny Kane just before half-time.

After a quiet first half, Luke Shaw grew into the game and provided an assist for both of the England’s opener, while Jack Grealish once again started on the bench, but was introduced on 69 minutes in place in place of Bukayo Saka and also set up a goal.

The breakthrough came on 75 minutes as Shaw played a ball across goal for Sterling to tap home from close range following good work from Grealish.

The Manchester City forward had also scored England’s winners in their 1-0 Group D victories over Croatia and Czech Republic.

Thomas Muller then had a glorious chance to equalise for Germany after Sterling had given the ball away, but somehow put his effort wide when he was clean through.

Shaw and Grealish combined again for the second goal with Aston Villa man providing the assist on this occasion.

Kane, who appeared to pick up an injury midway through the second half but carried on playing, sealed the victory with his first goal of the tournament on 86 minutes as he finished off a Grealish cross with a header from close range.

“We knew we needed a big performance against a difficult side, and we did that today,” Sterling said after the match. “Doing it for your country is always special.

“For half a second I thought let it [Sterling’s goal] not be offside, but I’m so happy it went in. We knew the intensity we could play at, not a lot of teams can deal with it.

“We kept going, [Declan] Rice and [Kalvin] Phillips, ate up ground and were animals in there. All-round, great team performance. We take it game by game, we go away, recover and get focused onto the next one.”

This was only England’s second-ever knockout win at a European Championship and they will face Sweden or Ukraine in the quarterfinals.

A clean sheet ensure England are the only remaining side in the Euros yet to have conceded a goal.

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Leon Goretzka’s late equaliser clinched Germany a 2-2 draw against Hungary and a second-placed Group F finish on a roller-coaster night in Munich.

Joachim Low’s side trailed 2-1 and appeared to be heading for their second group defeat, which would have left them third in the table, when substitute Goretzka fired them level in the 84th minute.

Adam Szalai’s early header had given Hungary a flying start and straight after Kai Havertz’s second-half equaliser for Germany, Andras Schafer headed the underdogs back in front.

Germany sealed second spot and will now play England in the round of 16 at Wembley on Tuesday, while Group F winners France, who drew 2-2 against Portugal, face Switzerland on Monday.

The game kicked off in pouring rain and following a controversial moment when a fan ran onto the pitch holding a rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQI+ community during Hungary’s national anthem.

After the game got under way, Joshua Kimmich tested Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi with an early angled shot before Germany fell behind in the 11th minute.

Roland Sallai’s brilliant, arcing cross from deep bisected Germany defenders Kimmich and Mats Hummels and Szalai stooped to head beyond stationary goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Germany responded through Hummels, who headed Kimmich’s cross following a corner against the crossbar.

Matthias Ginter was next to pass up a gilt-edged chance for the Germans as he failed to get full connection on a loose ball in front of goal.

Germany hogged first-half possession, but Hungary chased everything down as if their lives depended on it and Szalai threatened again shortly before the interval.

Low replaced Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan with Goretzka in a bid to add some urgency to his side, but the boos rang out as Leroy Sane over-hit his corner shortly afterwards.

Szalai was inches away from a second for Hungary when his free-kick after Sane had handled struck the outside of Neuer’s right-hand post.

Germany equalised in the 66th minute when Havertz headed home from close range after Gulacsi had failed to get anywhere near a looping free-kick into the box and the ball had struck Hummels on the head.

But the Germans were level for less than two minutes. Straight from the restart, Szalai helped on a long ball over the top and Schafer beat Neuer to the bounce to head Hungary back into the lead.

Germany chased another equaliser in a bid to snatch a Wembley date against England from Hungary’s grasp and Toni Kroos flashed a shot just wide in the 81st minute.

With the clock ticking down, Germany’s substitutes came to the rescue.

Jamal Musiala, who had replaced Robin Gosens two minutes earlier, fired a low cross into the box and after Timo Werner’s effort was blocked, Goretzka lashed home the rebound.

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Germany captain Manuel Neuer will not face any disciplinary action after wearing a rainbow armband during Euro 2020 games, UEFA has announced.

The Bayern Munich goalkeeper has donned the armband for matches against France and Portugal to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month, prompting the European governing body to investigate whether it could be viewed as a political statement.

But UEFA has concluded there is no case to answer, given the 35-year-old was “promoting a good cause”.

A UEFA spokesperson said: “UEFA looked into the armband worn by the player in question and, considering that it was promoting a good cause, i.e. diversity, the team will not face disciplinary proceedings.”

The German Football Association said it had received a letter from UEFA confirming the matter should be considered closed.

The DFB posted on Twitter on Sunday evening: “UEFA have today shared with the DFB that they have stopped the review of the rainbow captain’s armband worn by @Manuel_Neuer.

“In a letter, the armband has been assessed as a team symbol for diversity and thus for a ‘good cause’.”

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Three-times European champions Germany shrugged off their opening game loss and announced their arrival as serious contenders at Euro 2020 with an emphatic 4-2 win over highly-rated Portugal in their Group F match on Saturday.

The Germans had been beaten by world champions France in their opener prompting serious questions over their ability to make a challenge in this tournament but Joachim Loew’s side responded to the pressure with an outstanding performance.

Cristiano Ronaldo had given the defending champions a 15th minute lead with his 107th international strike, but Germany went in at the break 2-1 up thanks to own goals from Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro.

The Germans turned on the style in the second half with efforts from Kai Havertz and the impressive Robin Gosens making it 4-1 before Diogo Jota pulled a goal back for Portugal.

The result throws the ‘Group of Death’ wide-open and gives Germany a strong chance of progressing to the last 16.

Germany, who face Hungary in their final game in Munich, move into second place in the group on three points, a point behind leaders France and level on points with the Portuguese. Hungary drew 1-1 with France earlier on Saturday.

It was not merely the result that suggested some pundits were wrong to write off Germany – the fluency of their passing, the killer crosses and the intelligent running was a reminder of the enduring qualities of German football that has delivered so much success on the biggest stages.

“Overall it was an outstanding performance from the team, great attitude, great spirit, we had many chances, outstanding,” said Loew.

Germany started with purpose and confidence and thought they had grabbed the lead in the fifth minute through Gosens but VAR ruled that Serge Gnabry had been in an offside position.

Against the run of play, Portugal grabbed the early lead, hitting the Germans on the break with Bernardo Silva picking out Jota on the left of the box and his low cross was tapped in from close range by Ronaldo.

It was the Portugal skipper’s third goal in two games and his first ever against Germany but Joachim Loew’s side kept their cool and continued to play positive football before eventually getting their reward.

The Germans drew level in the 35th minute when Joshua Kimmich’s cross from the right was volleyed at the back post by Gosens and flew into the net off the outstretched foot of Portugal defender Dias as he looked to stop Havertz converting.

It was another own goal that gave Germany the lead — Kimmich drove in a low ball from the right and Guerreiro’s attempted clearance flew past his goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Portugal replaced Bernardo Silva with Renato Sanches at the break but Germany took a firm grip on the game with a third goal six minutes after the restart — a well-worked passing move ending with Havertz turning in a low ball from the left delivered by the influential Gosens.

Germany were buzzing now, and it was no surprise when they made it 4-1 on the hour with Gosens finishing off another well constructed attack, heading home a Kimmich cross at the far post.

Portugal struck back quickly though when a deep free-kick from Guerreiro looked to be heading out but Ronaldo acrobatically hooked the ball inside to Jota who slotted home.

Sanches fired a warning of a potential comeback when he thundered a long distance drive against the woodwork but Germany’s victory was never really in doubt.

The threat from the wide areas was particularly impressive with Gosens dynamic on the left and Kimmich impressive on the right while Havertz’s ability to ghost into space was never neutralised by the Portugal defence.

“We wanted better movement up front. From the start there was tempo, good combinations, from the wings with Kimmich and Gosens… that was our plan and it worked,” said Loew.

Despite a 3-0 win over Hungary in their opening game, Portugal’s progress to the last 16 is not secure and they need to take something from their final game against France in Budapest.

“Anyone can progress. This group was always very strong,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos. “Whether we progress or not is still up to us. And we must respond to this.”

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An own goal by Mats Hummels was enough to give France a 1-0 victory over Germany in their opening Euro 2020 Group F match on Tuesday as the sluggish-looking hosts lost their opening fixture at the European Championship for the first time.

The world champions took the lead in the 20th minute when midfielder Paul Pogba’s superb raking pass was fired back across the goal by Lucas Hernandez and defender Hummels shanked the ball into his own net as he tried to clear.

France’s Adrien Rabiot struck the outside of the post early in the second half and Kylian Mbappe had a superb finish ruled out for offside, while Germany’s misfiring attack struggled to get shots on target as they vainly chased an equaliser.

Mbappe was denied what looked to be a certain penalty after out-sprinting Hummels to chase down a long ball in the 78th minute and the French were denied once again when Karim Benzema’s late effort was ruled out for offside.

The win puts France second in Group F behind holders Portugal, who beat Hungary 3-0 earlier on Tuesday.

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Germany’s World Cup-winning midfielder Sami Khedira said he will retire following his club Hertha Berlin’s final match of the Bundesliga season against Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Khedira, 34, began his career at VfB Stuttgart and helped them win the league title in the 2006-07 season before moving to Real Madrid, where he won the league and Champions League in a trophy-laden spell.

Khedira went on to win five Serie A titles at Juventus after joining them in 2015 and left for Hertha three months ago, playing eight games for the team as they avoided relegation.

“After the match on Saturday it’s time to say goodbye,” Khedira said on Twitter. “So proud that I had the chance to experience all these special moments with you. Thanks to all the fans, team mates, coaches and of course my family and friends.”

Khedira played 77 games for Germany scoring seven goals and helped them win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“It’s a pretty tough step and it’s hard for me to talk about, but it’s the right decision,” Khedira said of his decision to retire at a news conference on Wednesday.

“Fifteen years in professional soccer have left their mark and I have to honestly judge what I can and cannot do. And at the end of the day, gratitude outweighs everything that I was able to experience.”