Reuters

Euro 2016 - Germany beat Northern Ireland to advance as group winners

Germany beat Northern Ireland to advance as group winners
By Eurosport

21/06/2016 at 16:00Updated 21/06/2016 at 23:03

Parc des Princes, Group C – Northern Ireland 0 Germany 1 (Gomez 29)

Germany secured their sport at the top of Group C with as dominant a 1-0 win as will ever be seen.

From kick-off, Germany dominated territory and possession - and, take note, Roy Hodgson - created a wealth of chances. Thomas Muller, whose finishing was curiously awry, hit both post and bar, but Michael McGovern in the Northern Ireland goal was also in inspired form. He may never play better.

Even so, Germany still managed to take the lead after 29 minutes, when Muller ran onto Mesut Ozil's superb pass, part of a superb first half for him, turned, and set Mario Gomez for a shot that was just about good enough.

The second half was less interesting, the teams appearing to make a silent pact of non-aggression. Germany still pushed, but without intensity, while Northern Ireland created not a single serious chance. Both teams can play better.

Germany's Mario Gotze shoots wide

Germany's Mario Gotze shoots wideReuters

TALKING POINT - CAN GERMANY FIND A FORMULA?

This was probably Germany's best performance of the competition so far, but they still do not look like potential winners. Luckily for them, they haven't yet needed to, and neither does anyone else. They certainly have the players to beat any team, but don't look to have sufficient goalscoring options in whatever guise they arrange themselves.

MAN OF THE MATCH - MICHAEL MCGOVERN

The keeper is without a club at the moment, but will surely have one soon. He pulled off a succession of difficult and varied saves; without him, his team would have lost by four or five.

Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern punches clear of Germany's Mats Hummels

Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern punches clear of Germany's Mats HummelsReuters

PLAYER RATINGS

Northern Ireland: McGovern 9; Hughes 5, McAuley 6, Cathcart 6, J Evans 6; Ward 5, C Evans 5, Davis 4, Norwood 5, Dallas 5; Washington 5. Subs: Lafferty 5, Magennis 5, McGinn 6.

Germany: Neuer 6; Kimmich 8, Boateng 6, Hummels 7, Hector 7; Khedira 6, Kroos 6; Ozil 8, Muller 6, Gotze 6; Gomez 6. Subs: Schurrle 5, Schweinsteiger 6, Howedes 6.

KEY MOMENTS

7' CHANCES - Muller goes through the middle all alone when Ozil 's beautiful flick diverts Kimmich's square blal into his path, eliminating the entire NI defence. But McGovern is out quickly, spreads himself, and blocks. Immediately, NI are down the other end, Davis finding space in the box, but he overruns possession.

11' MCGOVERN SAVE - Germany are coming now, and Ozil takes down a long ball, finding space in the box to poke a shot - could it be that he anticipated unwelcome contact from the keeper? - and McGovern smothers superbly!

12' MCGOVERN AGAIN - Another chance for Germany and again, McGovern is there! This time it's Gotze, free in the box, but all he can muster is a poke, diverted away.

23' WIDE FROM MULLER - Lovely chest from Gomez to redirect Kimmich's pass into the box, directly into the stride of Thomas Muller. Right of the box, just McGovern to beat, he drags a shot narrowly past the far post.

27' POST - Kimmich is a proper player, and he glides down the right again before ushering a delightful cross into the path of Muller's forehead. His bodyshape is perfect and he meets it perfectly, only to slam the bottom of the near post.

29' GOAL! Northern Ireland 0-1 Germany (Gomez) This is delightfully constructed, Ozil directing a pass into Muller's path that guides him through the centre of the NI box. But Cathcart comes back at him, so he turns on the ball, back now to goal, and lays it into the path of Gomez, who forces a low shot past McGovern.

34' BAR - Germany are going for more too, and Hector meanders infield, rolling studs over the ball before finding Ozil outside him. His cross is kicked away, but Germany keep the pressure on and Gotze skates down the left then pulls back from the by-line to Muller. He allows the ball to run across his body, then ushers an expert's finish into the top corner - except it hits the underside of the bar! No composure, him.

41' GOMEZ MISS - Miserable behaviour from Mario Gomez! Ozil weaves at Cathcart and McAuley, then slides a ball directly into Gomez's path. He prepares to sweep home with ease and nonchalance, then manages to miscue.

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley in action with Germany's Mario Gomez

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley in action with Germany's Mario GomezReuters

52' MCGOVERN SAVES AGAIN - McGovern is on one here, saving from Goetze at point-blank range after he takes down Ozil's crossfield ball on his chest. But Germany don't let NI off the hook, Khedira's clever pass sending Hector down the line. He crosses well too, and again it's Gotze at the near post, in plenty of space but contriving to sidefoot wide. This should be, like, so over?

59' MISS - Khedira takes the from left to right, finally skewing a shot across McGovern which he beats away. The rebound then rears up, and Gomez is there - to head over the top.

82' MCGOVERN SAVES - Lovely from Germany, working the ball out of defence to Schweinsteiger, who exchanges passes with Ozil. Eventually, the ball arrives at Kimmich, who turns inside thereby making Evans look a little silly before arcing a cross to the back post. Gomez is up, but McGovern gets a knuckle hair on his header and that's another very handy save.

KEY STATS

Germany have reached the knockout stages for a record seventh time in EURO history (since the introduction of the group stages in 1980).

Germany have kept three clean sheets in the group stage for the first time since EURO 1996, when they went on to win the tournament.

Germany joined Italy (1980), Poland (2016) and Germany (1996) as the only countries to not concede a goal in all three of their group fixtures at a European Championships.

Bastian Schweinsteiger made a record 15th appearance for Germany at the EUROs, surpassing Philipp Lahm (14).

No Germany player has won more EURO matches than Schweinsteiger (9). Lahm and Miroslav Klose follow with eight victories.

Mario Gómez made his first start for Germany in a competitive match since 28 June 2012, when Germany lost 2-1 against Italy in the EURO 2012 semifinals.

Gómez scored his first competitive goal for Germany since 13 June 2012, when he scored a brace against Netherlands in the EURO 2012 group stage (2-1 win).

Only Jürgen Klinsmann (5) has scored more goals for (West) Germany at the EUROs than Gómez (4).

Thomas Müller provided his first assist at the EUROs (0 goals). He has provided six assists at the World Cup (10 goals).

No goalkeeper has made more saves at EURO 2016 than Northern Ireland's Michael McGovern (16).

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