Germany perfectly positioned after Turkey rout
Updated: 2011-10-09 07:42
Germany's Mario Gomez celebrates after scoring against Turkey during a Euro 2012 qualifying match. Reuters
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Germany coach Joachim Loew is looking for his side to step up its performance against Belgium on Tuesday as it tries to make it ten wins out of ten in Euro 2012 qualifying.
Loew enjoyed the 50th win of his career as Germany coach on Friday as his team earned its ninth consecutive win in Group A, defeating Turkey 3-1 in Istanbul.
Bayern Munich trio Mario Gomez, Thomas Mueller and Bastian Schweinsteiger all netted in the victory, but Loew was not happy with the mistake that led to Turkey's consolation goal.
The Netherlands and Spain are the only other teams with a perfect record in their Euro 2012 campaigns.
With Germany hosting Belgium, who are second in the section, in Duesseldorf on Tuesday, Loew says he will stick with a winning team to make sure his side finishes with a perfect record, but wants a better performance.
"On Tuesday against Belgium, we will not change a lot of players, we are taking this game too seriously for that," said Loew.
"I must pay a big compliment to the team, we dealt with a good opponent in a difficult atmosphere.
"To win in front of 50,000 Turks against a motivated team is a good result.
"We didn't do so well in the first half and we let them back into the game after an error from Thomas Mueller, but he was involved in all three goals."
Gomez hit his 13th goal of the season in his 13th game for club and country in the first half before Mueller scored the second after being set-up by teenager Mario Goetze.
"We missed a few opportunities to score even more and can be satisfied, but the game wasn't easy, even though we have already qualified," said Gomez.
Turkey's Hakan Balta scored a late consolation goal for the hosts with ten minutes left before Schweinsteiger converted a late penalty to seal the win, but Mueller admitted he was at fault for the Balta goal.
"We didn't deal well with their counter-attacks and I was at fault for their goal - I was marking him and he suddenly got away from me," said Mueller.
The win leaves Germany with 27 points from nine games - Loew's team had already booked its place for the finals in Ukraine and Poland next summer after last month's win over Austria.
As Belgium beat Kazakhstan, the defeat to Germany means Guus Hiddink's Turkey drops to third in Group A and needs to beat Azerbaijan on Tuesday, while hoping results go its way, to keep alive its dreams of qualifying for the finals.
(China Daily 10/09/2011 page7)