Klose winner gives Germany best of Euro 2012 starts

Last Updated: Sep 04, 2010, 20:06 PM IST

Brussels: Miroslav Klose hit a second-half winner as Germany began their Euro 2012 football qualifying campaign with a 1-0 defeat of Belgium in Brussels Friday.

Klose struck six minutes after the interval after Germany capitalized on a mistake by central defender Daniel van Buyten.

Belgium failed to clear after winning the ball and van Buyten in his own area was caught in possession by Bayern Munich team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger.

In a further Bayern co-production, the ball fell to Thomas Mueller who immediately fed Klose to score.

The victory gives Joachim Loew’s side the best of starts in Group A where earlier Turkey earned a 3-0 win in Kazakhstan.

But World Cup semi-finalists Germany were some way from the form they showed in South Africa in summer, and Belgium could count themselves unfortunate not to get at least a point from the game.

“The win was important, the team showed a good spirit,” Loew said.

“You could sense at times that the players have only been in training four weeks. We needed a bit of time to get into into it but in the second half we had good control of the game.

“Now we are pleased that we will once again be playing at home (against Azerbaijan in Cologne on Tuesday).

With Georges Leekens at the helm for a second time, Belgium - without a win over Germany or West Germany since 1954 - put in a spirited performance and had Germany on the back foot for spells.

However the home side were rarely able to fashion any clearcut chances, with the best opportunity a long-range effort from Moussa Dembele shortly before half-time which an outstretched Manuel Neuer just managed to turn past the post.

At the other end, keeper Logan Bailly prevented a second goal for the Germans 20 minutes from time when he saved well from Thomas Mueller after a good run into the right of the box by Phillip Lahm.

Acting Germany captain Philipp Lahm said: “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.”

While Germany next take on Azerbaijan, Turkey meet Belgium in Istanbul and Austria entertain Kazakhstan in Salzburg in the next group matches Tuesday.

IANS