Germany warmed up for the European Championship with a 7-1 rout of Latvia on Monday in its last friendly game before the tournament.
Kai Havertz was involved in three of Germany’s five first-half goals before making way for Chelsea teammate Timo Werner for the second half, and Thomas Müller also scored – his first since he was recalled to the team in time for the tournament that starts on Friday.
Latvia reported a positive result for the coronavirus among the team hours before kickoff. Germany will face tougher opposition in its opening game against world champion France in Munich on June 15. Germany also faces Portugal and Hungary in Group F.
But Germany coach Joachim Löw can’t have asked for more from his side as it produced a complete and concentrated performance before the team leaves Tuesday for its tournament base in Herzogenaurach in Bavaria.
“It will be difficult to play against us,” said captain Manuel Neuer, who became the first Germany goalkeeper to reach 100 appearances. He was applauded before the game by some 1,000 spectators permitted amid coronavirus restrictions.
Löw started with his strongest available team in the absence of the injured Leon Goretzka. Toni Kroos was back after recovering from the coronavirus, partnering İlkay Gündoğan in midfield, with Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich moving over to the right wing. Atalanta’s Robin Gosens started on the left.
Antonio Rüdiger, Mats Hummels and Matthias Ginter formed the defense, while there were three up front, too, with Müller and Havertz supporting striker Serge Gnabry. Havertz flashed a shot just wide as the hosts began with intent. Gnabry and Müller had good chances before Gosens made the breakthrough in the 20th. It was the Atalanta player’s first goal for Germany and went in off the underside of the crossbar after he played a one-two with Havertz.
Havertz was involved again as Gündoğan made it 2-0 a minute later, but there was no let-up with Löw’s players pressuring and harrying their opponents on the rare occasions they didn’t have the ball. Kimmich hit the post before Müller scored. Havertz then forced an own goal from Roberts Ozols and there was still time before the break for Hummels to set up Gnabry to score Germany’s fifth with the outside of his boot.
Werner got the sixth five minutes into the second half before Germany’s intensity dropped amid more changes with half an hour to play. Aleksejs Saveljevs capitalized on the drop in concentration to score Latvia’s consolation with a shot inside the left post in the 75th, but Leroy Sané replied a minute later for Germany.
EASY FOR UKRAINE Andriy Yarmolenko scored twice — including a penalty — as Ukraine eased to a 4-0 win over 10-man Cyprus in its final warm-up game for the tournament. The visitors’ hopes of an upset were effectively ended when Antreas Panayiotou was sent off after conceding the first of two penalties in the 36th minute. Oleksandr Zinchenko scored the other penalty and Roman Yaremchuk got the other goal.
Ukraine is in Group C with Austria, the Netherlands and North Macedonia. Also, the Faeroe Islands routed Lichtenstein 5-1 and Andorra drew with Gibraltar 0-0.