Belfast Telegraph

Brave Scots denied by Muller as Germans clinch win

By Staff Reporter

Gordon Strachan admitted he thought Scotland were going to pull off a stunning upset against world champions Germany in Dortmund.

The visitors levelled the match at 1-1 in the 66th minute thanks to Ikechi Anya's nerveless finish and their pace in attack was causing Joachim Low's side problems.

But Scotland shot themselves in the foot as slack defending allowed Thomas Muller to knock home the winner, his second of the match.

"They have got to go out there against real machines, real physical players," said Strachan.

"They stood up to it. Second half we were terrific. Okay they're going to make chances, that was going to happen, but we played with a freedom in the second half.

"I thought we were going to get a point, I actually thought we were going to go on and win it at one stage.

"We had the pace to counter attack, I believe at that point our passing was good to get that final pass in."

To rub salt into Scottish wounds, they lost Charlie Mulgrew to a late red card, which was harsh on a side side who had arrived in Dortmund on the back of a six-game unbeaten run.

Germany had begun with six of the players who started the World Cup final eight weeks earlier but it was the familiar figure of Muller who opened the scoring after 18 minutes as he found the space between Russell Martin and Alan Hutton to meet a Sebastian Rudy cross and nod the ball over goalkeeper David Marshall.

Scotland's threat grew in the second period and they had their reward after 66 minutes as Darren Fletcher played in Anya to race 40 yards and finish coolly past Manuel Neuer.

It was a fairytale moment for a player who went to Glenn Hoddle's Spanish academy to kickstart his career after being released by Wycombe Wanders. Up in the gods, the Tartan Army celebrated but the euphoria did not last long as Germany grabbed a scruffy winner.

From a Reus corner, the ball bounced back to goal off James McArthur, Benedikt Howedes got a touch ahead of Grant Hanley and Muller – who else? – was perfectly placed to finish.

Things then ended on a further sour note for the Scots when Mulgrew earned a second yellow for kicking the ball away in injury-time.

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