Germany warm up for World Cup qualifying with 2-0 defeat of Finland

Madrid, Sept.1, (GNA/dpa) – World champions
Germany warmed up for the start of 2018 World Cup qualifying Wednesday with a
2-0 home defeat of Finland, on second-half goals from Max Meyer and Mesut Ozil.

The match, played in Moenchengladbach, was a
farewell homage to veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger, who at the age of 32 is
stepping down after 12 years of midfield service for Germany.

Schweinsteiger was given a thunderous standing
ovation when he was subbed in the 67th minute.

Afterwards, striker Thomas Mueller – who
played alongside Schweinsteiger so often for Germany and Bayern Munich – said:
“I’m already a little sad that I won’t be on the pitch with him fighting
for victories any more.”

Germany will start their qualifying for 2018
away to Norway Sunday.

Also Wednesday, 2018 hosts Russia played out a
0-0 draw in Turkey, with coach Stanislav Cherchesov making his debut on the
Russian bench.

“I saw some promising things tonight,
there is a useful base for me to build on,” Cherchesov said.

“But I also saw some mistakes that we
will need to try to eliminate.”

Cherchesov has taken over from Leonid Slutsky,
after Russia’s poor performances at Euro 2016.

Meanwhile, Ireland thumped Oman 4-0, with a
brace from Jonathan Walters after early strikes from Robert Brady and another
retiring veteran Robbie Keane.

It was the last game for Keane, 36, in the
green of Ireland, after 146 appearances and the remarkable tally of 68 goals.

“It was very tough – it was an emotional
night for me. I just want to thank everyone who came along to support me and
tell them that I’ve enjoyed every minute of my 18 years with the team,”
the hugely popular Keane said.

“Everyone wanted me to score and I’m
delighted to finish off in this way. I look forward to now sitting back and
watching the team as a fan.”

Earlier on, the Czech Republic and Denmark
enjoyed pleasant home defeats of minnows Armenia and Liechtenstein
respectively.

Ladislav Krejci, Vaclav Kadlec and Jan Kopic
all scored for the Czechs in the 3-0 thrashing of Armenia in what was a
promising debut for new national coach Karel Jarolim, whose team face champions
Germany in World Cup qualifying.

Meanwhile, Denmark went two better by caning
Liechtenstein 5-0, with a brace from Nicolai Joergensen followed by goals from
Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and, finally, Jens Stryger Larsen.

In contrast, Norway lost 1-0 at home to
Belarus, on a goal against the run of play from Sergey Krivets.

GNA

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