Ozil brace sparks Germany

On target ... Germany star Mesut Ozil celebrates after scoring one of his two goals (Getty Images)

It was not the rout that many expected, but Germany started its road to Brazil with a routine 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands.

Joachim Low's side has been known to run up big scores against the minnows such as Lars Olsen's side over recent years, but that was not the case here.

It could have been had goalkeeper Gunnar Neilsen not produced a stunning display, but in the end it had to settle for three goals from Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil's brace to do the job.

The result will not send too many shockwaves throughout the world but, having failed to convert qualifying dominance into a trophy since 1996, Germany may not be too fussed.

Recent history has dictated that Germany has steamrollered its way through qualifying and this tie had all the makings of another drubbing.

The tipsters had not bargained for Neilsen, though, with the Faroe Island's goalkeeper, once of Manchester City, on a one-man mission to deny it.

A long-term third choice at the City of Manchester Stadium, Neilsen was eventually released last Friday after the signing of Richard Wright, and was doing his best to give a demonstration of his skill set, denying Thomas Muller with seven minutes gone.

Sami Khedira then hit wide, before the Real Madrid midfielder's drive was brilliantly tipped around the post by the stopper.

Marco Reus was next to warm Neilsen's palms, with Muller trying again from the edge of the box as the story became a familiar one.

Lazio striker Miroslav Klose, normally the go-to man, had no answer either as he could not pass Neilsen's frame before, with 28 minutes gone, Gotze did, pouncing on a loose ball and catching the keeper cold.

Sensing a sea change Klose took aim with no reward, while Muller soon found that going a goal behind had done little to weaken Neilsen's resolve as he patted away his hit.

The Faroes even had a chance of their own, Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker clearing Jonas Tor Naes's header from under his own bar, and Germany headed to the sheds perplexed as to how it was in such a precarious position.

Muller tried to rectify that after the restart but put a header wide, with Reus doing the same with a shot, before Ozil gave Germany some breathing space.

He took in Muller's pass with 54 minutes on the clock and tucked under Neilsen to make it two, with the same man then blazing over from the edge of the box.

Even at 2-0 down Neilsen continued to produce heroics, tipping Ozil's strike round the post, but the Real Madrid man would not be denied his brace, tucking home Reus' pass with 71 minutes gone.

His one-man assault then saw him denied a hat-trick by the goalkeeper and, with the result secured, Germany was content to see things out with just the three goals to its name.

Source PA Sport