Germany go through the gears to see off Slovakia.Not even a rare missed penalty prevented Germany from matching their record EURO win and setting up a quarter-final against Spain or Italy.
No other outcome was likely, Germany not looking back from the moment Jérôme Boateng gave them an early lead. Mario Gomez and Julian Draxler also found the net in a display which will have no doubt made the rest of the tournament sit up and take even starker notice of the world champions.
Indeed Sami Khedira had already gone close with a header when Boateng’s eighth-minute volley deflected in off Milan Škriniar. The ricochet was key, but the technique was impressive from a central defender who had barely trained all week due to a calf injury.
Mesut Özil could have cemented victory after 14 minutes but his penalty – Martin Škrtel had tugged Mario Gomez’s shirt – was saved by Matúš Kozáčik. Though the Arsenal man and Draxler then both went close amid relentless German pressure, Slovakia could have drawn level had Juraj Kucka directed his close-range header beyond Manuel Neuer’s reach.
Draxler had two attempts on goal, created one great chance for a team-mate, and racked up an impressive eight dribbles in his superb attacking display.(Picture Courtesy: UEFA)
Two minutes later it was game over, Gomez turning in after a fine run and cutback from Draxler. The Schalke forward, a surprise starter in place of Mario Götze, was excellent and got a deserved goal of his own when he hooked a smart volley into the roof of the net from a corner just after the hour.
There was further pressure, Toni Kroos denied at the death, but Germany’s work was done – they eased off the gas to ready themselves for bigger tests to come.
A testing quarter final with either Italy or Spain awaits Germany. But if they play can like they did against Slovakia, they have little to wrory about.
Man of the Match: Julian Draxler
Intelligent, dynamic and stylish, Draxler more than justified his place in the starting XI. His movement alongside Thomas Müller and Özil was surely the key to this victory, Germany finding space despite their opponents’ willingness to put so many behind the ball. The Germans’ midweek training sessions against six defenders clearly paid off.
Report courtesy to UEFA Euro Release