Berlin, Oct 12 (IANS) FIFA World Cup champions Germany craved out a hard earned 2-1 victory over resilient Georgia to secure their ticket for the EURO 2016 in France, following the last round of European qualifiers on Sunday.

The victory sealed Germany’s first place in Group D of the UEFA European Qualifiers. With the result, Germany qualified for 12th straight time for the European Championship’s group stage, Xinhua reported.

Joachim Loew’s men dictated the pace from the kickoff and pressed the visitors from Georgia into the defence but for all that they failed to turn their dominance into a tangible reward.

Especially, Marco Reus gave away a number of promising opportunities at the first half. The Dortmund midfielder had the golden chance to break the deadlock with only Georgia’s goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili to beat but pulled wide from a very close range at the 13th minute.

Reus came close again when he tested Georgia’s goalie Revishvili with a long-range effort moments later. Germany’s wastefulness got nearly punished by Tornike Okriashivili, who forced Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to make a save at the 27th minute.

Nonetheless, Germany’s Marco Reus remained a continuous threat for Georgia’s defence.

Germany controlled the reins but failed to make the most of it within the fist half. Thus, Joachim Loew’s needed a foul play penalty to open the scoring after the restart.

Thomas Mueller stepped up and converted the awarded penalty into the bottom right after Mesut Oezil was felled inside the box at the 50th minute.

The deficit seemed the be awakening call for the visitors as Georgia turned up to flabbergast the hosts with the equaliser out of the blue, as Jaba Kankav made use of clearance to volley home only three minutes later.

Georgia gained momentum and almost grabbed the lead seven minutes later but Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer defused Tornike Okriashvili’s close range effort.

Despite a resilient performance by Georgia, Germany was able to snatch a 2-1 victory through substitute Max Kruse, who slotted home an assist by Oezil, three minutes after his fielding at the 79th minute.

“We squandered chances in the first half and struggled in the second half. I’m discontent with the last two performances, but I’m happy that we qualified for the EURO 2016,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said.

DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach added: ” It was a stiff piece of work. We have to thank Manuel Neuer, who secured our win with two superb saves.

However, Germany qualified for the twelfth time for the EURO.” Germany finish atop the standings of Group D with 22 points followed by Poland (21 points), Ireland (18 points), Scotland (15 points), Georgia (9 points) and Gibraltar (0 points).

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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