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Thomas Mueller scores brace as Germany go past Gibraltar; Cristiano Ronaldo decisive in Portugal win

Thomas Mueller struck twice before Mario Goetze added another in the first half with Yogan Santos netting an own goal.

By: Reuters | Nuremberg |
Updated: November 15, 2014 8:03:09 am
Mueller_m Germany’s Thomas Mueller celebrates his second goal gainst Gibraltar on Friday. (Source: AP)

World champions Germany sauntered past minnows Gibraltar 4-0 in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday to bounce back from a rocky start but coach Joachim Loew was far from pleased with the performance.

Thomas Mueller struck twice before Mario Goetze added another in the first half with Yogan Santos netting an own goal in a low-key second period as the hosts, who lost to Poland and drew with Ireland in their last two qualifiers, eased off.

“I am everything but satisfied with this,” Loew told reporters. “The team did not do what we wanted to do. We wanted to play as world champions and four goals are too few.”

“We did not hold our positions. Obviously there were 10 of their players around the box but we did not do it well in the second half.”

The win lifted Germany to seven points from four games, three behind Group D leaders Poland.

Gibraltar, who have yet to score a goal in their first ever campaign, earned praise from coach Allen Bula.

“It’s a great result and we really needed something like this,” Bula said. “0-4, I could not have asked for more.”

The home side, who never hit top form against European football’s newcomers, wanted to show their trademark attacking game after flopping in their last two qualifiers in October.

Given the enormous gap in quality between the four-times world champions and UEFA’s latest member who played their first international in September, it was always going to be a one-sided affair with Germany fielding a three-man defence.

Mueller poked in after Shkodran Mustafi’s cross bounced awkwardly off the post in the 12th minute and then stabbed in his second goal before Goetze drilled Germany’s third after a fine layoff from Max Kruse.

An audacious 34-metre dipping shot from Liam Walker that almost caught Manuel Neuer by surprise was Gibraltar’s only attack but still required a full-stretch save from the German keeper.

The hosts took their foot off the gas in the second half but Santos’ own goal from a Lukas Podolski cutback further increased the scoreline.

With Gibraltar, largely made up of amateur players, battling bravely with all 11 players in their own half, Germany struggled with ideas towards the end.

They hope to round off a successful year that included their World Cup triumph in Brazil in July with a win over European champions Spain in a friendly on Tuesday.  Cristiano Ronaldo scrambled a second-half goal to give Portugal an uninspiring 1-0 win over Armenia in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday in Faro.

Ronaldo scrambles narrow win for Portugal over Armenia

The Portugal captain broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute when the ball rebounded to him two metres from goal after Roman Berezovski saved Ricardo Quaresma’s shot, although he still needed two attempts to put it in.

It was his 52nd goal in 117 appearances and made him the competition’s all-time top scorer in qualifying and finals combined, but it was the high point of an otherwise below-par performance which included firing three free kicks straight into the defensive wall.

Portugal moved second in Group I with six points from three games while Armenia are on one point.

Armenia had good chances when Henrikh Mkhitaryan forced Rui Patricio to make a difficult save in the 14th minute and Kamo Hovhannisyan also tested the Portugal goalkeeper in the opening half hour.

Portugal came to life after Quaresma replaced Danny in the 70th minute and within two minutes he set up the winner for Ronaldo.

Eder was guilty of a terrible miss when he miscued from Ronaldo’s cross in the 86th minute and headed against the post three minutes later.

Jose Bosingwa, 32, made his international return for Portugal after a four-year absence while the starting lineup  also featured Ricardo Carvalho, 36, and former Tottenham Hotspur, Porto and Valencia forward Helder Postiga at centre forward.

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