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Germany sail through with convincing Ireland win

Germany 3-0 Republic of Ireland
Joachim Löw's men ensured smooth progress to the 2014 FIFA World Cup thanks to goals from Sami Khedira, André Schürrle and Mesut Özil.

André Schürrle receives the adulation of his Germany team-mates
André Schürrle receives the adulation of his Germany team-mates ©Getty Images

Germany strolled to a 3-0 victory against the Republic of Ireland to clinch top spot in Group C and a place at next summer's FIFA World Cup.

Sami Khedira's 12-minute opener was just reward for the home team's early dominance. Chelsea FC forward André Schürrle consolidated the lead shortly before the hour and playmaker Mesut Özil added the final flourish to rubber-stamp his side's unassailable five-point advantage at the summit.

An ominous tone was set for the visitors when Ciaran Clark deflected Philipp Lahm's cross into the path of Khedira, who neatly slotted in from 20 metres. Schürrle and Toni Kroos both misfired in front of goal as Germany raced through the gears, while visiting keeper David Forde produced a fine stop to claw out Thomas Müller's goal-bound effort.

Ireland, meanwhile, were restricted to sporadic forays forward and fell further behind on 58 minutes. Kroos provided the creative spark, his lobbed pass finding Schürrle, who finished with aplomb at the back post. Moments later, Jérôme Boateng rattled the crossbar with a venomous 30-metre strike, while at the other end Manuel Neuer had to be at his best to thwart Anthony Stokes. The last word belonged to Özil, though, as the Arsenal FC midfielder provided the finishing touch to a sweeping counterattack.