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Germany stamp out Belgium's fire

Germany 3-1 Belgium
The visitors' dreams of a play-off place were dashed in Dusseldorf as two goals in three first-half minutes set up Germany's tenth Group A win.

Germany stamp out Belgium's fire
Germany stamp out Belgium's fire ©UEFA.com

Germany made it ten wins out of ten in Group A by beating Belgium 3-1 in Dusseldorf <span style="font-family: " verdana","sans-serif";="" font-size:="" 10pt;="" mso-fareast-font-family:="" arial;="" mso-bidi-font-family:="" mso-font-kerning:="" .5pt;="" mso-ansi-language:="" en-gb;="" mso-fareast-language:="" hi;="" mso-bidi-language:="" hi;"="">– a result that, combined with a win for Turkey against Azerbaijan, ended the Red Devils' hopes of a UEFA EURO 2012 play-off place.

Having weathered some early pressure, Germany took command with goals from Mesut Özil (30) and André Schürrle (33), and the die was cast within three minutes of the restart when Mario Gomez made it 3-0, with Marouane Fellaini's 86th-minute header from a corner scant consolation for Georges Leekens' men.

Needing a win to secure second place, Belgium pressured the home side early on, urged forward by a vociferous and sizeable away support, but they came no closer than Vincent Kompany rifling a low shot past the right post.

At the other end, Simon Mignolet brilliantly denied Gomez when the striker broke through on goal, but the goalkeeper got nowhere near Özil's left-footed rocket from just outside the area from the resulting corner. Things went downhill for Belgium quickly as a text-book counterattack saw Gomez release Schürrle, who beat Mignolet with a cheeky chip.

Shortly before half-time, Jan Vertonghen almost pulled one back from a goalmouth scramble, but his shot was deflected wide of Manuel Neuer's goal, and Mignolet once more denied Gomez from close range before the whistle. The FC Bayern München striker made amends after the restart when he finally beat Mignolet with a low shot inside the box after some fine work by Özil. Neuer did well to keep out a low shot from substitute Romelu Lukaku before Fellaini rose highest at the near post to head in from Dries Mertens' corner.

'One Team – One Goal: Final Kyiv 2012' read a banner hoisted up by the German fans; should Joachim Löw's charges maintain their qualifying form, there may be no stopping them next summer.