Germany started their Euro 2012 campaign with a 1-0 victory against Belgium, 55 days after clinching third place in the World Cup in South Africa.
Germany struggled to find their form against a talented young Belgian team.
Germany started their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a hard fought 1-0 victory against Belgium in Brussels. Friday's victory gives Joachim Loew's side the best of starts in Group A but the World Cup semi-finalists Germany were some way from the form they showed in South Africa in July.
The Belgian hosts were the better team in the first half and had it not been for a couple of good saves by Manuel Neuer Germany would have found themselves a goal or two down. Germany showed a lot of respect to Belgium's young stars.
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However, veteran striker Miroslav Klose struck six minutes after the interval with Germany capitalizing on a mistake by central defender Daniel van Buyten. Bastian Schweinsteiger grabbed possession and passed the ball to his Bayern Munich teammate Thomas Mueller who set up Klose for his 53rd goal for Germany.
The Germans were virtually at full strength and were made to work hard for their victory against a very physical and confident Belgian side who, however, failed to create enough clearcut opportunities in the second half.
"The victory was important and the team played with spirit. But it was noticeable during some moments in the game that the players have only been training for four weeks. We needed some time before we found our momentum," said German national coach Joachim Loew.
Loew told journalists this week that his 'vision' for 2012 would be to reach the finals and play against World Cup title holders Spain in the final.
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Twenty minutes before the final whistle Belgium's keeper Logan Bailly prevented a second goal for the Germans when he saved well a shot by Thomas Mueller after a good run into the right of the box by Phillip Lahm.
Acting Germany captain Lahm clenched his fist at the end of the match: "Every beginning is difficult. That's why it was important we got three points today.
"You have to work on an opponent like this, and then you get your chances. We did that today and we can be satisfied."
Germany next face Azerbaijan, coached by ex-German coach Berti Vogts, in Cologne next Wednesday in the next round of qualifiers.
Author: Nigel Tandy
Editor: Ian Johnson