Germany return to winning ways; beat Israel 2-0
Berlin: Germany completed their preparations for Euro 2012 with a 2-0 win over Israel in their international friendly encounter at the Red Bull Arena on Thursday.
A clinical finish from Mario Gomez gave Joachim Low`s side the lead just before the half-time break, and substitute Andre Schurrle put the match beyond any doubt with a sumptuous effort eight minutes from time.
After a disappointing loss to Switzerland five days earlier, the win was a welcome boost for the Germans, who never needed to get out of second gear against an Israel side happy to invite them to attack.
There will definitely be tougher challenges ahead for the Mannschaft, however, as their campaign in Poland and Ukraine is set to commence against Portugal in eight days` time, with matches against fellow favourites Netherlands and Denmark also to come in Group B.
Germany were on the front foot right from kick-off against Israel, controlling possession and keeping their opponents penned back in their own half.
It took 19 minutes for them to register their first sight on goal, though it came from an unfamiliar source. A quick turn by Jerome Boateng inside the area manufactured an inch of space, but his shot rebounded off the woodwork.
Philipp Lahm was next to try his luck with half an hour gone, but his drive from range was deflected into the arms of Ariel Harush, after initially appearing to be a problem for the Israeli keeper.
Low’s men appeared comfortable but not clinical, with a lack of end product betraying their ease at finding holes in the Israel midfield ranks.
Sami Khedira saw another chance go begging as he came within inches of turning in a cross by Thomas Muller. However, with five minutes to go until half-time, the Germans finally made their breakthrough.
Khedira’s centre was flicked by Muller into the path of Gomez, and the Bayern striker turned away from his marker and ripped an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net.
Podolski almost fooled Harush a few minutes into the second half with a tricky delivery towards the centre of the box, but the keeper did enough to beat the ball away from danger.
Israel then had a rare sight on goal within moments, courtesy of substitute Gil Vermouth, whose charging run from midfield ended with a low curler that was pounced on by Manuel Neuer.
The pattern of the second half mirrored the first, with Germany unable to add a finishing touch to their enterprise in midfield, while Israel appeared happy to sit deep and relieve pressure on the counter whenever they could.
Mesut Ozil dragged a shot wide before teeing up Podolski inside the area for another wayward attempt as Low’s men seemed unable to translate their superiority into goals.
The new Arsenal signing saw another opportunity spurned when he drove down the left flank and unleashed a low drive that was smothered by Harush.
Muller was then involved twice, first teeing up Schurrle, who saw his effort deflected wide, then himself sidefooting embarrassingly off target after evading his marker deep inside the area.
Germany would finally get their second eight minutes from the end through Schurrle, who curled a superb effort from outside the D into the top corner past the despairing Harush.
Klose saw a late header tipped over by the Israel keeper, but at that point, it mattered little as the result was already secure.