SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Germany is the first country to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after booking its place on Monday with an error-strewn 4-0 win in North Macedonia.
Kai Havertz broke the deadlock in the 50th minute before Chelsea clubmate Timo Werner’s quickfire double helped Germany atone for its surprise 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in Duisburg in March – the only blip in an otherwise perfect qualifying campaign with seven wins from eight games in Europe Group J.
Jamal Musiala got the fourth goal for Hansi Flick’s team in the 83rd, set up by fellow substitute Karim Adeyemi.
Germany stretched its lead in the group to an unassailable eight points with two rounds of games remaining. Flick has overseen five wins since he took over from Joachim Löw after the summer’s European Championship.
“We got what we wanted – to qualify as quickly as possible,” Flick said.
Ionuţ Mitriță’s 26th-minute goal was enough for Romania to beat Armenia 1-0 in Bucharest.
Iceland defeated Liechtenstein 4-0 in the other group game.
Romania moved to second in the group on 13 points, one ahead of North Macedonia and Armenia on 12. Iceland has eight points and Liechtenstein one from a draw with Armenia in September.
In Skopje, Stole Dimitrievski was called into action earlier on to deny Joshua Kimmich from a narrow angle. The Macedonian goalkeeper was to remain busy for the duration of the game with his own team relying on counterattacks.
But Germany’s lack of precision meant the game remained scoreless at the break despite 14 goal attempts in the first half.
Werner went closest before the break when he hit the left post.
Havertz finally broke the deadlock in the 50th, when Serge Gnabry sent Thomas Müller through. Müller laid the ball off for the better-placed Havertz to shoot past Dimitrievski.
Werner made it 2-0 in the 70th, then grabbed his second three minutes later. There was still time for Musiala to become Germany’s second youngest goal-scorer, aged 18 years, 227 days.
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