Half-Time Report: Germany place one foot in Brazil

Germany move nearer to securing an automatic qualification place to next summer's World Cup by earning a first-half lead over the Republic of Ireland.

Germany have taken a giant step toward securing their ticket to Brazil next summer after recording a 1-0 half-time lead over the Republic of Ireland in Group C.

The Boys in Green, who need to win if they are to stand any chance of earning a playoff place, weathered an early storm of German pressure before forming their own attack which could have resulted in a goal, but Anthony Stokes elected to pass rather than shoot inside the area.

It would quickly prove a costly decision by the Celtic striker, as the hosts opened the scoring minutes later through Sami Khedira, whose effort from outside the box took a wicked deflection off the boot of Ciaran Clark and wrong-footed goalkeeper David Forde.

Interim manager Noel King will be thanking Forde for keeping the deficit to a minimum, as the Millwall shot-stopper was later forced into two impressive saves; first denying an Andre Schurrle header from point-blank range, before tipping Thomas Muller's long-range effort over the bar.

Despite their dominance, Germany nearly surrendered their advantage right on the stroke of half time, as Clark's looping header bounced off the woodwork, before Stokes produced an air-kick in attempting to convert the rebound.

Germany's striker Thomas Mueller and Germany's defender Benedikt Hoewedes celebrate after the third goal for Germany during the FIFA World Cup 2014 group C qualifying football match of Germany vs Austria on September 6, 2013
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