germany ukraine euro 2016.jpg
Germany's Jerome Boateng (R) clears the ball off the line during the UEFA EURO 2016 group C preliminary round match between Germany and Ukraine

Germany won their opening game of Euro 2016 thanks to goals by Shkodran Mustafi and Bastian Schweinsteiger in an entertaining 2-0 win over Ukraine on Sunday, but the world champions will be worried by some lapses at the back.

Mustafi headed in his first international goal after 19 minutes and substitute Schweinsteiger netted on the break in injury time.

But Ukraine could easily have levelled at 1-0 against a slightly makeshift Germany defence, giving other sides hope that Joachim Loew's side can be conquered, especially if they again fail to fully kill off a game.

The Group C encounter was end-to-end at times and played in a carnival atmosphere, despite news of trouble between fans in Lille city centre before kick-off.

Germany are level at the top on three points with Poland, who beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in their tournament opener on Sunday.

"I'm very happy for Bastian Schweinsteiger after all this work he has done in the last few weeks and months, he scores the decisive second goal and that helps him and the team," Loew told a press conference.

"It was quite an intensive, physical game. We ran a lot in the first half."

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was handed the captain's armband, with the injury-hit Schweinsteiger not match fit enough to start having played very little football since March.

As expected, Mats Hummels was also on the bench as he recovers from injury with Mustafi coming in at centre back and Benedikt Hoewedes remaining at right back.

Mario Goetze, who got the nod upfront ahead of Mario Gomez, made a good early run with his brightly coloured boots to set up Julian Draxler but he scuffed his effort wide.

Immediately at the other end, Mustafi made a mistake and Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka forced Neuer into a smart save.

Heavy rain before kick-off at the space-aged stadium in Lille meant the pitch threatened to cut up slightly but generally offered a slick passing surface for some flowing German moves, with personnel in midfield interchanging impressively.

But the threat from crosses was always there and when dead ball specialist Toni Kroos swung in a superb free-kick midway through the first half, Mustafi was there to perfectly power a header into the top corner of the net.

Mustafi was outjumped soon afterwards though in his own box and Yevhen Khacheridi produced a header which Neuer had to palm over the bar, as Germany's defence continued to look shaky.

It was Ukraine keeper Andriy Pyatov who was next called upon to make a good save from Sami Khedira after a delightful through ball from Kroos.

The pace of the game would not let up and Jerome Boateng had to block and then clear off his own line after Konoplyanka passed up a superb chance following a clever cross from fellow Ukraine winger Andriy Yarmolenko.

Moments later the ball was in the back of the Germany net but a correct offside flag ruled it out, despite the protests of the yellow-clad Ukraine fans behind the goal.

The second half was a less frenetic affair although Kroos clipped the top of the bar. Ukraine ran out of steam as an attacking force but almost equalized late on after an awful misunderstanding between Mustafi and Neuer.

Then Schweinsteiger popped up to superbly convert Mesut Ozil's cross just minutes after coming on to send the noisy German fans away happy.

"Germany are a machine, they are a team full of great players. We didn’t know exactly who would play but a machine is a machine," Ukraine coach Mykhailo Fomenko said.

Germany next play Poland at the Stade de France on Thursday when Ukraine face the Northern Irish in Lyon.

Latest news

Germany's record surplus sets off debate about using extra cash

Germany's budget surplus continued to grow last year, reaching its highest level since the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990 and setting off a debate about what to do with the extra cash.

Croatian PM says gov't has no influence on appointment of Podravka managers

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday the appointment of new management board members in the Podravka food company was in the remit of the supervisory board and that neither he nor the ministers had any influence on talks at the supervisory board.

Australian archbishops call abuse probe a 'catastrophic failure'

The Australian Catholic Church's handling of a child sex abuse scandal has been a "catastrophic failure" and amounted to "criminal negligence," blasted the country's archbishops Thursday.

WHO: More than 300 million suffer from depression as world ages

The global number of people with depression has risen by 18 per cent to 322 million in the past decade, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday, demanding greater attention for high-risk groups.

Ukrainian lawmaker, vocal critic of Russian government, abducted

Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Honcharenko, an adamant critic of the Russian government, has been abducted by a "group of unknown people," state media reported Thursday, quoting the Odessa regional prosecutors office.

Australian ex-PM slams Netanyahu for 'torpedoing' peace process

Former Australian premier Kevin Rudd has accused Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu of "torpedoing" peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Weekly "Novosti" dismisses NGO's accusations

The newspaper today also dismissed all accusations the NGO presented at a recent news conference, and retorted that the NGO's criticism were ill-intended and untrue accusations.

Sixteen killed in fighting between army and rebels in Congo

Sixteen fighters from the reactivated Congolese rebel movement M23 have been killed during two days of fighting with the army in the east of the country, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Maltese FM on behalf of EU calls for preservation of stability in BiH

Maltese Foreign Minister George Vella said in Sarajevo on Thursday that his country, as the current chair of the European Union, closely followed the developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and other parts of the Western Balkans.

Croatia-Hungary committee on minorities meets after four-year hiatus

The Croatia-Hungary Intergovernmental Committee for the implementation of the agreement on the protection of the rights of the respective ethnic minorities met in Zagreb on Thursday after a four-year hiatus.

Syrian rebels claim full control of al-Bab, defeating IS

Syrian rebels backed by Turkey said Thursday they are fully in control of al-Bab, wresting it from Islamic State after a military campaign that began in November and cost hundreds of lives.

HURS says Croatia fails to create conditions for long-term growth

The Croatian Association of Workers' Trade Unions (HURS) warned on Thursday that a report which the European Commission released on Wednesday showed that Croatia had failed to create conditions for a long-term economic growth, adding that the situation in the Podravka food company suggested the continuation of the trend of shutting down jobs in the production sector.