Germany dominate Slovakia to reach Euro quarter-finals

World champions Germany eased into the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Slovakia in Lille on Sunday.

Germany stamped their authority on the game from the start and could even afford a Mesut Oezil penalty miss as Jerome Boateng in the eighth minute and Mario Gomez in the 43rd put them two goals ahead before the break.

Julian Draxler hooked in the third in the 63rd minute to crown a man-of-the-match performance by the Wolfsburg midfielder.

The victory sets up an encounter with either Italy or title-holders Spain in Bordeaux on Saturday. Italy and Spain meet Monday in Saint-Denis.

Germany coach Joachim Loew said: "Like a lot of teams we have also had problems in the tournament, but today it was overall a good performance.

"It is also a good feeling when the team is good defensively. But now we are facing another calibre of opponent in the tournament."

Gomez said: "It’s never easy at this Euro because every team plays very defensively. This is the second match in a row where we’ve played against teams which stuck I don’t know how many players behind the ball and we still managed to create many chances."

An experimental Germany had lost 3-1 to Slovakia in Augsburg in a friendly on May 29, but 44,312 spectators in the Stade Pierre Mauroy saw a German team in full tournament throttle.

Slovakia, who had battled to a backs-to-the-wall goalless draw with England, saw their defence soon breached when a Toni Kroos corner on the left was headed out straight to Boateng.

The Bayern Munich defender, whose selection had been in some doubt during the week because of a calf injury, met the ball with a first-time volley from 20 metres which took a slight deflection to beat keeper Matus Kozacik's dive to the right.

It was Boateng's first goal for Germany, and Loew's side were clearly in the mood for more.

An opportunity went five minutes later when Martin Skrtel pushed Gomez and Polish referee Szymon Marciniak pointed to the spot. Oezil stepped up for the penalty but the Arsenal man's left-foot shot was at a comfortable height for Kozacik to save with a dive to his left.

Oezil rifled a half-volley just wide in the 25th minute and Draxler, preferred to Mario Goetze, twisted to shoot wide in just two near misses by the world champions as they continued to dominate a one-sided first half.

Slovakia were rarely in the German half but almost snatched an equalizer four minutes before the break when Manuel Neuer did well to tip a header from Juraj Kucka away for a corner.

Almost immediately Germany punished the Slovakians when Draxler shimmied past Kucka on the left and his flicked cross from the byline across goal was stabbed home by Gomez for the striker's second strike of the tournament.

Slovakia began the second half in more enterprising fashion but again conceded from a Kroos corner, this time from the right. Mats Hummels got his head to the ball which fell to Draxler, whose hooked shot inside the six-yard box found the roof of the net.

Draxler and Boateng both came off after some 70 minutes to be replaced by Lukas Podolski and Benedikt Howedes, while Loew was also able to field Bastian Schweinsteiger, who replaced Sami Khedira in the 76th minute.

The match was effectively over as a contest and Kozacik foiled a fourth goal by saving from Kroos in stoppage-time as the Germans made it four games out of four with a clean sheet.

Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik said: "It was difficult. We put in the perfect performance against the world champions.

"It’s a pity (to go out) but when we look at what we have done, we can be proud of ourselves and happy about what we achieved. We can build on this."

Last update: Sun, 26/06/2016 - 22:58

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