Germany have beaten the Faroe Islands 3-0 in their World Cup qualifier, taking another step towards Brazil 2014. The game had a training ground feel due to the major gulf in quality between the teams.
Per Mertesacker and his new Arsenal teammate Mesut Özil scored a goal each as Germany secured its first ever win in its current green "away" jerseys. Bayern Munich's Thomas Müller, who won the penalty scored by Özil, added a third late in the game to provide the sort of score one might expect in such an obvious mismatch.
The discrepancies could not be overlooked, starting with the artificial playing field at the stadium in the capital Torshavn. Germany's Bundesliga top-division logged revenues in the previous season that were roughly $200 million (150.9 million euros) higher than the estimated total gross domestic product of the Faroe Islands.
The national team controlled almost all of the game, without ever really shining. Much of the second half, in particular, involved the German side playing "keep-ball" far away from the danger zones.
"Scoring three points here was a must," German coach Joachim Löw said after the game. "A match like this was to be expected. They were guarding the penalty area with all 10 outfielders. If there's anything to bemoan, it's that last decisive pass - we still need to work on that."
Defender Per Mertesacker also conceded that the German side lacked bite "especially in the second half."
Klose misses record, German ticket still not stamped
Striker Miroslav Klose was unable to build on his goal against Austria on Friday and become the definitive top scorer in German international football. The Lazio striker remains tied with Bayern Munich legend Gerd Müller on 68 international goals.
Mertesacker's first half goal was the result of a Mesut Özil corner. Jerome Boateng rose highest at the near post and Mertesacker was able to stretch and volley the flick-on home from close range.
Özil benefitted from a perhaps dubious penalty decision in Thomas Müller's favor, making no mistake from the spot, while Müller's third was the only goal scored in open play.
Müller himself said after the game that the penalty "was a clear foul on me." Replays showed that defender Atli Gregersen, who was sent off for the foul, made slight contact with Müller.
Sweden stayed second to Germany in Europe's qualifying Group C, courtesy of a Zlatan Ibahimovic goal and a 1-0 win in Kazakhstan. As a result, Germany is still not mathematically guaranteed automatic qualification for the World Cup in Brazil; Sweden trail the Germans by five points with two games remaining.
Italy and the Netherlands were both able to secure their spots at the World Cup on Tuesday night, joining earlier qualifiers Japan, South Korea, Australia and Iran - and hosts Brazil - on a list that will ultimately include 32 countries from around the world.