Germany kick off Euro 2024 mission with 2-0 friendly win over Peru
MAINZ, Germany, March 25 (Reuters) - Germany forward Niclas Fuellkrug scored twice to secure a 2-0 victory over Peru in a friendly on Saturday as the hosts launched their mission to rebuild a competitive team for next year's Euros on home soil.
In their first match since crashing out of last year's World Cup in the first round, the Germans unusually deployed two strikers with Fuellkrug and Timo Werner and were sharp in attack, especially in a strong first half.
They did, however, look uncertain at times with the ball in their own half, repeatedly losing possession and struggling with Peru's high pressing.
"You could see that the team had dynamism, especially in attack. A lot of things were good today, maybe not at 100%," said Germany coach Hansi Flick.
"Sometimes the last pass was not clean enough. We had times where we lost possession. We have to be more careful."
"But we also kept a clean sheet which was very important for us and had worked on it."
The 30-year-old Fuellkrug opened his account in the 12th minute, turning in the ball after Kai Havertz had played it on with his chest. He had also scored their last World Cup group stage goal.
Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese pulled off a stunning double save a little later by stopping Florian Wirtz's shot and then denying Werner on the rebound.
But Werder Bremen forward Fuellkrug, who made his Germany debut just days before the World Cup, bagged his fifth goal in his fifth international, flicking in a superb cross from newcomer Marius Wolf in the 33rd.
"It was all about having a good start to the year and excite the fans," Fuellkrug said. "I think we did it well in the first half. Then it got a bit wild in the second half."
Substitute Serge Gnabry rattled the crossbar with a thundering mid-air volley on the hour before Havertz sent a 68th minute penalty onto the post with the Germans having taken much of the pace out of the game.
Germany next play Belgium on March 28 in Cologne.
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