Germany had little trouble taking another step toward the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday, defeating an overmatched Faroe Islands squad, 3-0.
Unsurprisingly, the Group C leaders controlled the majority of the action against a side that has now tallied zero points over eight World Cup qualifying matches, getting goals from Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller in a match that was never in doubt.
It was an admirable first-half effort from the Faroese side.
The Germans, clearly a side with far more talent, pressed on with a relentless attack. In the opening 45 minutes, they controlled 77 percent of the possession, fired off 18 shots (six on target) and earned seven corner kicks.
But the Islanders hunkered down in the back, and for the most part, fought off a German attack that, despite missing the likes of Marco Reus, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze, featured a talented attacking corps of Miroslav Klose, Ozil and Muller along with plenty of other young tantalizing players.
The Faroe Islands players threw their bodies in front of shots, made aggressive tackles and even created a few counterattack opportunities in what was a gritty, commendable performance in front of a raucous home crowd.
In the 23rd minute, however, Joachim Low's side finally broke through.
Ozil sent in a corner kick, and Jerome Boateng flicked it across goal and past goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen to Mertesacker, who easily pushed home the left-footed volley.
101 Great Goals' Twitter account gives us a look at the goal:
Ozil with the corner! 1-0! Per Mertesacker (Germany) v Faroe Islands http://t.co/BY9fIqrite— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) September 10, 2013
OptaFranz, meanwhile, gives us an idea of just how rare the feat was, and not just for the fact that it was two central defenders combining for the goal:
3 - Per Mertesacker scored his 3rd goal for Germany (before vs. Australia 2005 and Sweden Oct 2012). Rare.— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 10, 2013
Germany continued to press on in the second half, and in the 74th minute, they were able to double their lead.
Ozil sent Muller in on goal on a perfectly placed pass, and as the Bayern Munich man was about to fire, he was taken down by Atli Gregersen, who was shown a red card.
Arsenal's summer signing coolly stepped to spot and made it 2-0 with an easy finish:
Arsenal fans... he can take spot kicks too! Mesut Ozil penalty v Faroe Islands http://t.co/pXD8zWKmj8— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) September 10, 2013
Muller was able to add another in the 84th minute when he crushed home a powerful shot from inside the six-yard box after a wonderful delivery from Philipp Lahm.
3 - Thomas Müller is the only player scoring in each of Germany's last 3 games. Constant.— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 10, 2013
|Gunnar Nielsen||B||Manuel Neuer||A|
|Johan Davidsen||B-||Marcel Schmelzer||B+|
|Viljormur Davidsen||B||Philipp Lahm||A|
|Atli Gregersen||D||Per Mertesacker||A-|
|Rógvi Baldvinsson||B||Jerome Boateng||B+|
|Súni Olsen||B-||Sami Khedira||B|
|Fródi Benjaminsen||C+||Mesut Özil||A|
|Pol Johannes Justinussen||C||Julian Draxler||B+|
|Daniel Udsen||C||Thomas Müller||B+|
|Christian Holst||B+||Toni Kroos||B|
|Joan Edmundsson||B-||Miroslav Klose||B-|
|Christian Mouritsen||B||Andre Schurrle||A-|
|Hallur Hansson||B-||Sidney Sam||B|
|Páll Klettskard||B||Max Kruse||B|
Man of the Match: Mesut Ozil
Germany struggled at times to finish in the final third against the Faroe Islands' parked bus, but Ozil was certainly not the one to blame.
Who was the Man of the Match?
The new Arsenal man gave Gooners a glimpse of his ability as a world-class conductor, as he set up a seemingly endless amount of opportunities for his compatriots.
It was his corner that led to the first goal. It was his through ball that sent in Muller free behind the defense, eventually drawing a red card and a penalty. He also delivered a beautiful cross for a point-blank header from Klose, which was missed, and created a slew of other chances on goal.
The former Real Madrid star could have easily finished with three or four assists, but in the end, he'll settle for a goal (he clinically converted the penalty that he set up) and a world-class performance in distributing.
Sweden beat Kazakhstan on Tuesday, so Germany will have to wait to secure their spot in Brazil. They currently lead the Swedes by five points (22 to 17) with two matches remaining—home against Ireland and away against Sweden in October.
Faroe Islands, meanwhile, will continue to search for its first point with home matches against Kazakhstan and Austria.