Germany 3 Rep of Ireland 0: Keane clashes with Low after Ozil and Schurrle ensure safe passage to Brazil

Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane was involved in a furious row with Germany coach Joachim Low at full-time as his side overpowered a makeshift Irish team to clinch their place in next summer's World Cup Finals.

The pair clashed after the final whistle and had to be pulled apart after a finger-pointing argument by the touchline following Germany's comfortable 3-0 win in the Rhein Energie Stadium in Cologne.

Keane was angered at what he perceived to be a snub by the German coach who, he felt, had refused to shake caretaker manager Noel King's hand immediately after the game.

Hot shot: Sami Khedira gave Germany an early lead

Hot shot: Sami Khedira gave Germany an early lead


Germany: Neuer, Jansen, Mertesacker, Boateng, Lahm, Khedira (Kruse 82), Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Ozil, Schurrle (Gotze 86), Muller (Sam 88). Subs Not Used: Adler, Zieler, Howedes, Hummels, Draxler, Westermann.

Booked: Khedira.

Goals: Khedira 12, Schurrle 58, Ozil 90.

Rep of Ireland: Forde, Coleman, Clark, Delaney, Kelly, Gibson, Wilson, Whelan, McCarthy, Doyle, Stokes. Subs Not  Used: Elliot, Henderson, St Ledger, McGeady, Green, Hoolahan, O'Brien.

Booked: Stokes.

Ref: Serge Gumienny (Belgium).

Click HERE for full results, fixtures and tables in European World Cup qualifying - plus your stats zone from the match

But Low said: 'Robbie Keane asked me why I didn't shake Noel King's hand and I said "hey Robbie of course I will do that later on but first all off because of the joy and demands of the occasion, I want to go on the pitch and give my players high fives". I did that and only then did I shake Noel King's hand.'

Keane was among the sell-out crowd in the Rhein Energie Stadium after failing a fitness test on his ankle injury, forcing King to recall Kevin Doyle in a five-man midfield and end Anthony Stokes's two-year exile from the Ireland squad.

Although Stokes had three good chances, and Ciaran Clark hit the German crossbar, Ireland were outplayed by Group C winners Germany, who gained the necessary points ahead of their final game against second-placed Sweden in Stockholm on Tuesday night.

A deflected strike from Sami Khedira, and two well-worked goals from Andre Schurrle and Mesut Ozil clinched a victory and but for Ireland keeper David Forde, the Germans would have at least replicated their 6-1 win in Dublin a year ago.

Despite the margin of Germany's victory, and long periods of possession for the home side, King said he was satisfied with his players' performance against 'one of the best teams in the world'.

The caretaker manager, whose tactical decisions are certain to come under scrutiny ahead of Tuesday's visit of Kazakhstan to Dublin, said: 'We knew coming into a game against Germany that we are not going to have possession and we would have to defend and we did that very well. But to create chances against one of the best teams in the world is testament to the players' courage and passion.

'They scored a deflected goal and we were creating chances, I am sure Joachim will be asking questions about that. I am just sorry we didn't score. I thought we deserved a goal.

'I did enjoy it for 89 minutes and then we had a corner, Damien Delaney nearly scored and we were pushing forward looking for that goal and got caught. That's the way it goes.

Delight: Khedira (left) celebrates with Philip Lahm

Delight: Khedira (left) celebrates with Philip Lahm

Painful: Anthony Stokes is fouled by Germany's Per Mertesacker (right)

Painful: Anthony Stokes is fouled by Germany's Per Mertesacker (right)

'David Forde was exceptional. It was a man of the match performance and some of his saves were outstanding. At the same time, I thought everyone acquitted themselves very well.

'I couldn't make any changes because I thought we were well-balance and overall I am very happy with the boys.

'They are good professionals who acquitted themselves well in a green shirt and they never stopped defending, never stopped trying to counter attack. I know what I have seen.

'Now we will do our level best to beat Kazakhstan. We will dust ourselves down and get ready for Tuesday night.'

Low added: 'We have shown we are group leaders and deserved to be where we are having won eight of nine matches. We now have a little bone to pick with the Swedes after the first match.

'It was one of the most deserved victories ever. The team have done their best to finish their attacking moves. Ireland were playing very defensively but from a football point of view my team did exactly right.'

Khedira set the ball rolling with a deflected 12th-minute effort from distance, but it was not until Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle converted Toni Kroos' pass from close range 13 minutes after the restart that the points were assured.

Indeed, the game might have turned out very differently had Ireland, for whom goalkeeper David Forde was superb, enjoyed slightly better fortunate in a flurry of activity either side of half-time.

Defender Ciaran Clark, the man who was clipped by Khedira's goal-bound shot, almost made amends in first-half injury time with a header which came back off the crossbar, and lone striker Anthony Stokes caught the Germans cold just 17 seconds into the second half with a shot which flew just wide.

Two good: German's Andre Schuerrle celebrates scoring the second goal

Two good: German's Andre Schuerrle celebrates scoring the second goal

Clincher: Mesut Ozil of Germany scores the third goal

Clincher: Mesut Ozil of Germany scores the third goal

Germany's Mesut Ozil, left, scores his side's third goal past Ireland's goalkeeper David Forde

Germany's Mesut Ozil, left, scores his side's third goal past Ireland's goalkeeper David Forde

The Republic at least restored a measure of pride a day short of a year since they were taken apart by Germany at the Aviva Stadium in a 6-1 rout which very nearly cost Giovanni Trapattoni his job during the days which followed.

Trapattoni did depart last month after successive defeats by Sweden and Austria, the two sides with whom they were realistically competing for second place from the off.

His replacement is yet to be appointed, but, if he was watching as events unfolded at the Rhein Energie Stadion, he would have been impressed with the kind of organisation and commitment which were a feature of the Italian's first four years at the helm.

Ireland will bring a disappointing campaign to a close at home to Kazakhstan on Friday already looking towards the Euro 2016 qualifiers which begin in September next year.

By contrast, the Germans head for Sweden knowing their job is done and they can start planning in earnest for an assault on World Cup glory.

King retained only four of the men who started against Austria last month, although he had no choice over suspended duo Richard Dunne and John O'Shea or the injured Robbie Keane, and only skipper for the night Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy survived from the mauling in Dublin.

He had worked all week on a system designed to frustrate the runaway group leaders and, while his 4-2-3-1 formation was not a surprise, the personnel he asked to fill some of those roles was.

Darron Gibson and Marc Wilson sat in front of the back four with a midfield trio of Kevin Doyle, McCarthy and Glenn Whelan playing behind lone striker Stokes.

Off to Brazil: Germany's Jerome Boateng, Per Mertesacker and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, celebate qualification

Off to Brazil: Germany's Jerome Boateng, Per Mertesacker and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, celebate qualification

Germany's Manuel Neuer celebrates with mascot 'Paule'

Joy: Germany's Manuel Neuer celebrates with mascot 'Paule'

The Celtic frontman was inevitably isolated for long periods, but Ireland's early focus was on solid defence, and the plan worked.

Or at least it did for 12 minutes until their luck ran out.

Stokes was guilty of giving the ball away too easily deep inside his own half and German skipper Philipp Lahm pounced to feed Khedira, whose shot took a decisive deflection off Clark and completely wrong-footed Forde.

But it was not until the final 10 minutes of the first half that the pressure started to tell.

Schurrle, who had earlier seen appeals for a penalty waved away after he appeared to get a nudge in the back from Whelan, powered a bullet header towards goal only to see Forde make a fine reaction save, and the Millwall went one better eight minutes before the break to turn away Thomas Muller's piledriver.

But the Republic were very nearly back in it in first half injury time when Gibson played a free-kick short to Whelan, whose cross was headed against the bar by Clark with Stokes miskicking as he attempted to volley home the rebound.

Ireland returned in determined mood and went close twice within the opening two minutes of the second half, Stokes firing just wide after running on to Doyle's knock-down and then forcing Manuel Neuer to tip over a dipping cross.

Stokes later missed the target from an unlikely angle after Neuer had unwisely left his line in pursuit, ultimately in vain, of a defence-splitting Whelan through-ball.

But the game was over when Schurrle controlled Kroos' deft 58th-minute pass and beat Forde with ease to make it 2-0.

Ireland might have got themselves back into the game with 17 minutes remaining but for a good double save by Neuer to deny first Stokes then Coleman, and Stokes and Clark both went close again in a late flurry.

However, Ozil had the last word when he ran on to Kroos' pass in stoppage time to complete the victory.