The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Germany book place in finals

Hamburg, Oct. 11 (Reuters): A determined Germany crushed Iceland 3-0 on Saturday to book their place at the Euro 2004 finals in Portugal.

Inspirational midfielder Michael Ballack, braving the pain from a sore ankle, showed the way when he curled the ball into the net with a half-volley from inside the box on nine minutes.

Striker Fredi Bobic doubled Germanyís lead when he volleyed home from a Kevin Kuranyi cross in the 59th minute and Kuranyi tapped the ball in from a dream pass by substitute striker Miroslav Klose to seal the victory with 11 minutes remaining.

The three-time world and European champions, who needed at least a draw to win Group V and book a trip to the finals, showed much more initiative than the visitors but survived a few scares.

Iceland found the net once in each half, through striker Eidur Gudjohnsen and defender Hermann Hreidarsson, but both efforts were disallowed, for offside and a foul respectively.

Scotlandís simultaneous 1-0 win over Lithuania in Glasgow gave them second place in the group for a playoff berth and meant Iceland, who dropped a spot to third, did not qualify.

Meanwhile, Manchester United teenager Darren Fletcher came off the substitutesí bench to fire Scotland into the playoffs with a nervy 1-0 win over Lithuania at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The Scots created few chances against a well-organised visiting side but 19-year-old midfielder Fletcher, who replaced Colin Cameron on 65 minutes, settled the nerves of a 51,343 home crowd when he struck from the edge of the box five minutes later.

West Ham Unitedís Don Hutchison should have wrapped up the points when he walloped over with 10 minutes left but Berti Vogtsí men held out for the win.

In a Group X qualifier in Basel, Switzerland beat Ireland 2-0. Hakan Yakin have the Swiss the lead in the sixth minute with Alexander Frei sealing things off in the 60th.

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