• Fri
  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Updated: 1:36pm
SportSoccer
WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Low conversion irks Germany coach

Minnows are beaten 3-0, but coach insists his strikers need to sharpen up for Austria clash

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2012, 3:31am
 

Germany coach Joachim Loew has admitted his side must convert more of their chances after labouring to a 3-0 win over minnows Faroe Islands in their opening World Cup qualifier.

Midfielder Mario Goetze's first-half strike and two goals after the break from Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil ensured the hosts at least started the road to Brazil 2014 with three points.

Having converted only three of their 15 shots on goal while enjoying roughly 85 per cent ball possession, Loew said his side must improve, with the Germans facing Austria in Vienna on Tuesday. They then face Sweden and Ireland next month in group C.

After Ireland's 2-1 win in Kazakhstan earlier, Germany top the group but wasted a chance to dominate their guests from the North Atlantic archipelago, who are ranked 152 places below the second-placed Germans.

After their 2-1 exit at the hands of Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-finals and last month's 3-1 home defeat to Argentina, Loew admitted Germany's attack again lacked clinical finishing in front of a sparse crowd in Hanover.

"I know that it is the biggest victory in our history over the Faroe Islands," Loew joked after Germany's previous narrow wins over the North Atlantic minnows as the national team enjoyed the 500th win in their history.

"The Faroe Islands aren't the benchmark for other teams we will have to play in this group. It was clear to see from the beginning that we wanted to score, but our problem at the moment is we waste a lot of chances.

"Not only in this game have we needed a lot of opportunities to score. Once again it was the little things missing in our game which were missing if we are to score more goals."

In Helsinki, Abou Diaby marked his return to international soccer with the only goal of the game as France began their bid with a 1-0 win against Finland.

It was hardly vintage stuff from Les Bleus, but the Arsenal midfielder's neat strike from a Karim Benzema assist in the first half allowed Didier Deschamps's first competitive game in charge to end in victory.

"It's a shame that we had chances only for their 'keeper to make good saves," Deschamps said. "At the end, they threw on the big lad in [Njazi] Kuqi and created one or two dangerous situations, but you are never safe if you don't get a second goal."

Diaby, who was making his first appearance for France since June last year, added: "It's been a long time. I am happy to be back and we are delighted to come away with the win. It has been a difficult year, but that is in the past and now I need to look to the future."

In a five-team qualifying group I that features reigning world and European champions Spain as the heavy favourites, France had little option other than to win against a Finland side ranked a lowly 96th in the world.

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