Germany officially stamped its ticket to the 2022 World Cup with an impressive 4-0 qualifying win against North Macedonia. After being held for the first 45 minutes on a rainy pitch at the Phillip II Arena, second half goals from Kai Havertz, Timo Werner (2) and Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala propelled Die Mannschaft to the three points that guaranteed direct qualification to the World Cup next year.
To North Macedonia’s credit, they did make like difficult for Hansi Flick’s men and they certainly posed a sporadic threat on the counter attack that caused some nervy moments for Germany’s back line. It took a while for the home side to get broken down, but they weren’t at all aided by the first half injury Arijan Ademi a half hour into proceedings after a collision with Havertz where he appeared to have potentially dislocated his ankle.
Speaking after the match, Leon Goretzka recgonized just how hard it was for Germany to eventually break down a well disciplined Macedonian side, and he also felt that they need to be able to create more chances when they got in and around the box (Tz). “It was a very unpleasant opponent, especially in the first half. They’re not a bad team, but you have to tire them out first. There was still room for improvement in the first half. We lacked the drive to score and the conviction to score the goal in the box,” he explained. In the end, Germany out shot North Macedonia 24-7 and registered 10 on target to North Macedonia’s one.
At the end of the day, the job is done for Germany with two matches to spare in UEFA World Cup qualifying. Flick will have room for some more experimentation with the last pair of qualifiers. Even though the main objective has been completed, Goretzka knows Germany still has a lot of work to do to get back on the top of the World footballing ranks in international competition. “We should bake small rolls. We still have a lot to do there. If it’s about us getting back to the top of the world, we have to continue to grow together as a team and weld together. There’s no one better than Hansi to do that,” he urged.