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Football: Germany ease past resilient Kazakhstan

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A three-goal barrage within nine first-half minutes set Germany up for a 4-1 home victory over a resilient Kazakhstan Tuesday to remain in control of their 2014 World Cup qualifying group.

Germany's Marco Reus hit the opener after 23 minutes, Mario Goetze doubled in the 27th and Ilkay Guendogan make it 3-0 in the 32nd. Reus finished the scoring in the 90th minute for the Germans, who could have scored more but hit the posts or crossbar six times in the match in Nuremberg.

Genrikh Shmidtgal hit one back for the Kazakhs in the 46th minute.

Germany top Group C with 16 points from six matches, followed by Ireland with 10 points from five matches and Sweden with eight points from four qualifiers.

German coach Joachim Loew once again used midfielder Goetze up front in the 4-2-3-1 system as striker Mario Gomez was still unavailable with his thigh injury.

Germany dominated play from the very start but it was Kazakhstan with the first chance as Sergey Ostapenko's header off a corner went just right of the post after eight minutes.

The hosts continued their onslaught with Guendogan hammering his volley against the left post in the 21st minute, and Goetze followed a minute later by finding the left upright.

Germany finally hit the back of the net in the 23rd minute as Reus turned in from the left side and struck home a low shot from 21 yards.

Germany doubled the advantage just four minutes later with captain Philipp Lahm rushing forward and through the left side of the Kazakh defense before crossing at the last second to Goetze, who finished off the attack.

The barrage was continued in the 32nd minute as Guendogan was the beneficiary of Mesut Oezil's cross to the near right post where the Dortmund midfielder hit home for his first goal for Germany.

Guendogan was close to another goal nine minutes later but his attempt went off the upper half of the crossbar.

Kazakhstan increased the pressure on the ball after the break and trimmed the deficit to 3-1 in the 46th minute on a mistake by Germany 'keeper Manuel Neuer, who played a backpass too far away and Shmidtgal raced onto the ball and blasted into the empty goal.

Germany nearly finished the game for good in the 72nd minute only to see Kazakh 'keeper Andrey Sidelnikov save shots by Oezil and Thomas Mueller before Oezil hit the rebound off the left post and Sami Khedira followed seconds later with a shot off the right post.

The ball went off the crossbar four minutes later as Sidelnikov batted Mueller's looping shot off his own framework.

Kazakhstan joined the post party with Valerij Korobkin hitting the outside of the left upright off a set piece in the 79th minute.

Lahm saved another Kazakhstan goal in the 89th minute, stopping Shmidtgal's shot at the line before Reus finalised a counter attack in the 90th minute for his second goal.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130326/football-germany-ease-past-resilient-kazakhstan