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Germany 3-0 Iceland: 5 talking points as hosts cruise to comfortable victory | 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 

Germany defeated Iceland 3-0 on Thursday
Germany defeated Iceland 3-0 on Thursday
Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 26 Mar 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

Goals from Leon Gortezka, Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan helped Germany to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Iceland in their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Thursday.

Germany manager Joachim Low deployed his men in a 4-3-3 without a recognized striker. Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz led the line and was flanked by Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry.

It took just three minutes for the hosts to open the scoring. The brilliant Joshua Kimmich sent a chipped ball into the area, and Gnabry showed great technique to control the ball in the air and set it up for Bayern Munich teammate Leon Goretzka. The 26-year-old made no mistake from six yards with a sweeping finish into the bottom-left corner.

Germany doubled their lead just three minutes later. Kimmich played an exquisite ball into the left channel, from which Leroy Sane sent a cutback into the box for Havertz to score with a one-time left-footed finish.

From then on, it was one-way traffic, with the Germans camping in Iceland's half, although some dogged defending prevented the hosts from adding to their two-goal lead in the first half.

Manuel Neuer was practically a spectator in the Germany goal. A rare foray into the hosts' box saw Runar Mar Sigurjonsson's shot narrowly deflected behind for a corner.

Sigurjonsson was replaced soon after, having suffered an injury on the field, and Germany went into the break two goals ahead.

Ilkay Gundogan got on the scoresheet 11 minutes into the second half. A well-worked team move ended with the Manchester City midfielder finding the bottom corner with a shot from 22 yards.

Iceland registered their first shot on target when an audacious volley by Jon Dadi Bodvarsson from the edge of the box was comfortably gathered by Neuer.

Serge Gnabry rattled the left post in the 71st minute, and a raft of changes in the final 20 minutes - including a debut for Jamal Musiala - saw the tempo of the game drop.

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The victory sees Germany move to the top of Group J ahead of their next game against Romania. Iceland will hope to get back to winning ways on Sunday when they travel to take on Armenia.

Here are five talking points from the game.

#5 Germany show their class in overwhelming victory

Germany dominated from start to finish
Germany dominated from start to finish

Germany ended 2020 on an embarrassing note, with a 6-0 thrashing by Spain representing the nadir.

In February, the four-time world champions were rocked by the announcement that Joachim Low would be bringing his 15-year association with Die Mannschaft to an end after Euro 2020.

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The game against Iceland represented an opportunity for Germany to get back on track. They did not fluff their lines in what was a dominant performance from start to finish.

The hosts were two goals ahead inside the opening seven minutes and controlled proceedings throughout the game without having to hit second gear.

In what was a convincing victory, Germany had 76% possession, fashioned 15 shots, with five of those being on target and, if anything, a 3-0 defeat flattered Iceland.

#4 Impressive Joshua Kimmich shines brightly

Joshua Kimmich was unplayable
Joshua Kimmich was unplayable

Joshua Kimmich's transformation from a marauding full-back into a central midfielder is complete and should rank among the greatest achievements in Pep Guardiola's managerial career.

Against Iceland, the 26-year-old was at his impressive best and effortlessly dominated proceedings from the middle of the park.

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The Bayern Munich man's vision and range of passing were evident throughout the game. He had a hand in all three goals by kickstarting the move that led to them.

Kimmich was also on set-piece duty and tried a couple of shots from distance. In total, the former RB Leipzig man made three key passes, hit one shot on target, and had a pass completion ratio of 92%.

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Published 26 Mar 2021, 04:52 IST
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