Germany dismantled the Slovaks and continued their quest for European dominance in their round-of-16 tie in Northern France on Sunday evening. Goals from Boateng, Gomez and Draxler ensured the world champions' progression to the quarter-finals as they look primed to add the European crown to their trophy cabinet.
Germany 3-0 Slovakia
With just 7 minutes gone in the game, Germany had managed to find the back of the net and take an early lead. Following Khedira's header from Kroos' free-kick that was palmed away by Kozacik, centre-back Boateng was able to break the deadlock. Kroos's whipping corner was cleared by the Slovak defence, only to find its way to a waiting Jerome Boateng. The Bayern defender connected crisply with the high-ball from about 20 yards-out. The shot took a deflection and was able to sneak into the bottom corner, marking Boateng's first goal in his international career, having been capped 63 times.
It was just the start the world champions were looking for.
Mesut Ozil, looking to redeem himself for the penalty misfire, came close to doing just that. A cross from Julian Draxler to striker Mario Gomez saw the ball drop for Ozil, however he dragged wide, missing the target. Another glorious chance for Germany went begging.
The German barrage continued, and Slovakia found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they were to go forward and attack it would leave space in behind, whereas sitting back and defending was getting them nowhere.
German full-back Hector was enjoying his license to roam forward on the left-flank. The FC Koln player was regularly getting the better of Peter Pekarík but his final cross left a lot to be desired.
With 10 minutes to go till half-time, Kimmich's whipped cross to the front post was headed clear by Skrtel, in the process heads collided with Thomas Muller. The pair dropped to the turf following the impact —replays showed the defender took a real risk by grabbing the back of the Germany forward as the ball came into the middle, and was lucky that a penalty was not called.
Despite being utterly dominated in the first half, Slovakia had an almighty chance to go level through Juraj Kucka. The Slovak winger rose to Pekarik's floating cross and brought an incredible stop out of Manuel Neuer, showcasing why many tout him as the best keeper on Earth. It was a positive sign for Ján Kozák's side, who had been unable trouble Manuel Neuer's goal prior to the chance.
But all hope was surely crushed with moments to go before the interval. Having nearly leaked an equaliser at one end, Germany went right down the other and grabbed a second to double their lead. Julian Draxler, who had been giving Slovakia the run around all half, was the architect behind the goal that was finished off by Mario Gomez. The talented Wolfsburg man, who replaced Mario Gotze in the starting lineup, skinned Kucka on the left of the box before playing a simple cut-back for Gomez to tap in for his second goal of the tournament. The goal was coming for a long-time and inevitably Germany made good of a chance to go 2 goals to the good.
Slovakia came out the gates with more purpose, knowing it is now or never to save their tournament hopes. A couple of poorly conceded free-kicks in a matter of minutes from a lackadaisical German defence presented opportunities for the Slovaks to get back into the game, however no clear-cut chances were able to come to fruition.
The Germans' intensity had dropped off from the level they had in the first half, and the Slovaks knew that if they could nab a goal the game would turn on its head.
But in the 63rd minute, it was all said and done. Julian Draxler, who had been the best player on the pitch all-game, was able to grab a 3rd goal for the Germans. The goal, once again, came from a set-piece. Toni Kroos' corner from the right was nodded on by Hummels, and the ball looped towards Draxler, who made no mistake with an elegant first-time finish on the volley to nestle the ball into the roof of the net. Game over.
Draxler really gave the keeper no chance with that volley. 💪 #GERSVK #EURO2016 pic.twitter.com/n0RtzFupo8— UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) June 26, 2016
Germany saw out the game in cruise-control and Slovakia knew they had been completely outclassed by much superior opposition, but their fans never let up and continued to cheer for their team.
Joachim Low, looking to damage limitations, subbed off Boateng and Draxler for Podolski and Howedes. Man Utd midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was also brought, in place of Sami Khedira, to see out the final stage of the match.
A perfect evening for Joachim Low, who's team put on a classy and professional showing at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, producing the best performance of the tournament so far. They have the talent, the ability and the experience to go all the way, and have sent out a warning to the other teams as they seek European glory. The winner of Italy vs. Spain will face Germany in what will sure be a mouthwatering affair.
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