Germany in control of Group Four

Germany remain in firm control of Group Four after seeing off Wales 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium.

The hosts suffered a major blow before kick-off when star striker and captain Craig Bellamy was ruled out through injury and their spirits were dealt a further blow when Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack put his side ahead after 11 minutes.

The Germans were allowed to take a throw-in on the left that should have been a Wales ball after it deflected off a visiting player.

Neither linesman nor referee Terje Hauge reacted and the ball was instantly fed to Ballack, who unleashed a swerving drive from 30 yards that crashed into the top corner past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

The second came three minutes into the second half when Mario Gomez managed to retain possession despite hitting the turf at the byline before cutting the ball into the six-yard box where Ashley Williams turned the ball into his own net.

Germany are now sitting pretty on 16 points, four clear of Russia – who also won tonight.

Konstantin Zyryanov scored the game’s only goal in the 38th minute, slipping the ball past Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle following a cross from Andrei Arshavin.

Arshavin was the instigator, guiding a ball in from the left to his former Zenit St Petersburg team-mate, who took a touch to bring the ball under control before nicking the ball past Jehle from eight yards.

Home substitute Thomas Beck caused problems for Russia in the closing stages, but goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was alert enough to maintain their lead.

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