Sunday June 12 2016
Germany survive Ukraine scares

Germany defeated Ukraine 2-0, but got away with quite a few scares, including a Jerome Boateng goal-line clearance.

The World Cup holders were in poor form going into the Euros, losing four of their last seven games, and opted to use Mario Götze as a False Nine. However, Ukraine had never beaten the Germans, managing two draws from four attempts.

Manuel Neuer needed an acrobatic flying save in the opening four minutes to push Yevhen Konoplyanka’s scorcher out from under the bar.

At the other end, Jonas Hector horribly miskicked a great chance, but ex-Sampdoria defender Shkodran Mustafi nodded in a Toni Kroos free kick to break the deadlock.

Neuer was called into action again, punching Yevhen Khacheridi’s header out from under the bar, but Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira trapped a Kroos pass over the top and was denied one-on-one by Andriy Pyatov.

Boateng had a bizarre moment on 37 minutes, as at first he seemed to be carrying the mis-kicked Konoplyanka shot into his own net, but with his second touch acrobatically managed to clear it off the line.

Ukraine had the ball in the net moments later, but the offside flag was up. After the restart, Julian Draxler, Khedira and Kroos had efforts from distance, while Neuer beat a fierce Yaroslav Rakitskiy free kick round the post.

With three minutes to go it was end to end stuff, as first Mesut Ozil fired straight at the goalkeeper, then from a goal kick Mustafi and Neuer got into a tizzy, risking an own goal or a penalty.

Just as Ukraine were pouring forward deep into stoppages, substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger volleyed in an Ozil pass on the classic counter.

Germany 2-0 Ukraine

Mustafi 19 (G), Schweinsteiger 92 (G)

Germany: Neuer; Höwedes, Boateng, Mustafi, Hector; Khedira, Kroos; Müller, Özil, Draxler (Schürrle 78); Götze (Schweinsteiger 89)

Ukraine: Pyatov; Fedetskiy, Khacheridi, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk; Sydorchuk, Stepanenko; Yarmolenko, Kovalenko (Zinchenko 73), Konoplyanka; Zozulya (Seleznyov 66)

Ref: Atkinson (ENG)

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