Tue, 08 Jun 2021 - 06:38 GMT
DUSSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) -Germany scored five first-half goals on the way to a 7-1 demolition of Latvia on Monday, completing a successful dress rehearsal for their European Championship campaign starting next week.
With Manuel Neuer becoming the first German keeper to reach 100 caps, the hosts were firing on all cylinders from the start and set a dizzying pace, Thomas Mueller and Kai Havertz going close in the opening 90 seconds.
"We did a lot of things right today," said coach Joachim Loew, who will leave his post following 15 years in charge after Euro 2020.
"We had discussed things in the past days and what needs to be improved. In the first half we had a lot of pace and speed, good pressing."
Champions League winner Havertz then played a perfect one-two with Robin Gosens who fired home in his first international in the 19th minute.
Goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Mueller quickly made it 3-0, the latter scoring his first goal since his return to the team last month following more than two years out.
The Germans, who drew 1-1 with Denmark last week and are looking to make amends for a shock 2018 World Cup first-round exit, showed none of the conversion problems that had plagued them in recent years and Havertz added another when his shot was deflected into the net by Latvia keeper Roberts Osols.
Serge Gnabry also got on the scoresheet on the stroke of halftime, firing in from a superb Mats Hummels cross before substitute Timo Werner flicked in five minutes after the restart to make it 6-0.
"Our conversion rate was much better," Loew said. "It was an issue in the past months and we made our lives difficult. We need to finish the chances we create.
"Now we need to increase the pace even more and keep the intensity over 90 minutes and we will be good for next week."
Latvia grabbed a consolation goal through Aleksejs Saveljevs' fierce left-foot strike before Leroy Sane restored the hosts' six-goal advantage with a simple tap-in.
Germany kick off their Euro 2020 group matches against world champions France in Munich on June 15. They also play European champions Portugal and Hungary in Group F.