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Germany stroll past Austria to reach EURO 2012

Germany 6-2 Austria
An eighth win in as many Group A games means Germany are the first side to qualify for next summer's UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Mesut Özil was the star of the show in Gelsenkirchen
Mesut Özil was the star of the show in Gelsenkirchen ©Getty Images

Germany became the first side to qualify for UEFA EURO 2012, with a 6-2 defeat of neighbours Austria in Group A earning their place alongside co-hosts Poland and Ukraine in next summer's finals.

Miroslav Klose's deflected opener sent Joachim Löw's men on their way after just eight minutes. Mesut Özil and Lukas Podolski struck two more before Marko Arnautović reduced the arrears, but the pattern continued after the interval in Gelsenkirchen. Although Martin Harnik responded to Özil's second of the night, André Schürrle and Mario Götze duly fired in late on to give a sell-out crowd of 53,313 more reason to celebrate.

Austria looked set to crash Germany's party in the early stages as Harnik got dangerously close to Ekrem Dag's cross, but the hosts soon asserted themselves. The visiting defence failed to fully clear Bastian Schweinsteiger's cross and it fell to the Gelsenkirchen-born Özil, whose shot on goal glanced in off Klose. It was the striker's 62nd international goal, leaving him six short of Gerd Müller's national record.

Klose set up Özil for the second, as the Real Madrid CF man ghosted through the Austrian defence to slot in, and while Klose saw a further chance go begging, Podolski needed no second invitation after Holger Badstuber set him up for Germany's third of the night. Arnautović's header from a Florian Klein cross beat Manuel Neuer soon after, but a Podolski shot confirmed Germany's continued dominance.

After half-time, Özil rampaged in from the left and saw his strike take a handy deflection off Austria's Christian Fuchs before hitting the net, though coach Löw had reason for a stern look at his side on 51 minutes, as Harnik exploited some lax defending to score. Podolski, Jêrome Boateng and Özil did their best to keep the goals flowing, but it was substitute Schürrle who hit the fifth – his fourth in seven internationals – before Götze rounded off the scoring with customary deftness.

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