World Champions off to winning start in Lille.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.49.51 by MACAULAY DALEY 

Germany 2-0 Ukraine, Group C 

Germany moved top of Group C, after they comfortably beat Ukraine 2-0.

Shkodran Mustafi opened the scoring for the Germans after 19 minutes, but they were made to wait until the second minute of stoppage time for the second, Bastian Schweinsteiger finishing off a fine counter-attack.

Joachim Low’s men started the brighter of the two nations and should have taken the lead after 11 minutes. Thomas Muller nodded down Julian Draxler’s cross into the path of Jonas Hector, but the Cologne man fluffed his lines at the last minute and shinned the ball in the air from eight yards out.

Die Mannschaft made the most of their positive start and took a deserved lead on 19 minutes. After Muller was fouled on the edge of the area, Toni Kroos floated a delightful free-kick that was headed home emphatically by Valencia’s Mustafi.

On 27 minutes, Manuel Neuer tipped Yehven Khacheridi’s header over the bar as Ukraine started to make themselves known in the game.

It should have been 2-0 minutes later though, Kroos – who was beginning to reign supreme in midfield – put an inch perfect pass into Sami Khedira, but the Juventus man shot straight at Andriy Pyatov from just inside the area.

With the game heading towards the half-time, Ukraine’s two main men, Yehven Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko combined to nearly draw them level. The latter’s cross missed out everyone in the German area, finding the former in acres of space. However, his miss hit shot rebounded off of Jerome Boateng towards the net, before the former Manchester City man recovered to hook the ball off of the line.

The World Champions continued their assault on the Ukrainian goal early in the second half, with Draxler seeing his shot turned away by Pyatov.

Yaroslav Rakitskiy had his free-kick turned away by Neuer, with the Bayern Munich goalkeeper merely a spectator for the majority of the second-half.

Pyatov was doing his best to keep Ukraine in the contest, making crucial saves from Khedira, Mario Gotze, Muller, Andre Schurrle, but his best came from Mesut Ozil.

The Arsenal star found himself one on one with Shakhtar Donetsk’s ‘keeper but the 32-year-old spread himself well to keep the ball out.

From there Mykhaylo Fomenko’s men nearly grabbed a point against the run of play and nearly turned Mustafi from hero to zero.

Pyatov’s long kick was misjudged by Mustafi and Neuer and saw the former nod the ball past his onrushing goalkeeper and towards the now unguarded net. However, the quick thinking of Boateng to retreat spared his partners blushes.

With the Eastern Europeans searching for an equaliser, the Germans secured the three points with a wonderful counter attack.

Following a Ukrainian corner, Ozil was played in down the left and his wonderful cross was met by substitute Schweinsteiger who finished emphatically into the roof of the net.


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