2014 World Cup winners Germany comfortably beat Slovakia in the first round of the knockout stages thanks to goals from Jerome Boateng, Mario Gomez and Julian Draxler.
Germany opened the scoring within 8 minutes. Sami Khedira headed the ball towards Slovakia’s goal, forcing Kozacik to tip the ball over the bar from goalkeeper Kozacik. Toni Kroos took the resulting corner on the left and a defender got their head to it only for Jerome Boateng to volley it from the edge of the box and a very slight deflection took it into the bottom left corner.
Just five minutes later and the referee awarded the Germans a penalty after Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel tugged Mario Gomez’s shirt. Mesut Ozil took the spot-kick with his left-foot, only for Kozacik to get both hands to it and force a save to the right of the goal. Moments later and Gomez had found himself space inside the box and tries an attempt at goal, only to be blocked by the defender.
It took twenty minutes into the game for the Slovakians to get their first chance of the game as Vladimir Weiss plays a one-two with his teammate on the left wing and plays it back to the midfielder, the resulting shot went straight at the Germany defender.
Just short of half an hour and Ozil seemingly switched to the left-hand side. The 27-year-old sent in a cross towards Thomas Muller at the near post but he could only hit it with his shoulder and it flew well, well over the goal. Draxler had a chance ten minutes before the interval, as the Wolfsburg man tricked his way past a Slovakia defender inside the box, he gets his shot away but it was instantly blocked. In the 38th minute, Draxler had another chance, he touched it down with his chest to turn and shoot with his left foot on the edge of the box – however, it went comfortably wide of Kozacik’s goal.
Manuel Neuer was forced into his first save of the match. A cross was sent in from the right-wing and Kucka got his head to the ball at the far post and Neuer had to produce a half-decent save to prevent an equaliser.
Germany doubled their lead in the 43rd minute as Draxler dribbled past Kucka like he’s not there and knocked it across to the near post, where Mario Gomez smashed it home to make the score 2-0. The striker’s 5th goal at European Championships. The World Champions went in at half-time with a two-goal advantage against Slovakia. They ended the first-half with 15 shots in total, the most by any country in the first 45 minutes of a game at Euro 2016.
Shortly after the break and Slovakia were the ones to have the first real chance of the second-half, as Marek Hamsik layed it off to Juraj Kucka, from 25 yards he smashed it straight at Neuer, an easy save for the Bayern Munich goalkeeper. Minutes afterwards and Slovakia were awarded a free-kick 30 yards out, Hamsik took it but sent it over and wide of the goal – nothing for Manuel Neuer to worry about.
A few moments later and the Slovakians were awarded another free-kick from the same distance, but more to the middle of the goal, after Draxler tripped up Krosovsky. Hamsik rolled it to Kucka who attempted a shot but it went well over the bar.
Just short of 20 minutes into the second-half and Joachim Low’s team scored a third past the Slovakians. The goal came from a Toni Kroos corner, Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels got his head to the ball but couldn’t direct it on target. Julian Draxler found himself striking a volley from six yards out into the roof of the net, a well-deserved goal for the 22-year-old.
Germany go through to the knockout stages and will play the winner of Spain versus Italy – which is being played on Monday.
Germany: Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng (Howedes ’72), Hummels, Hector; Khedira (Schweinsteiger ’76), Kroos; Müller, Özil, Draxler (Podolski ’72), Gomez
Slovakia: Kozacik, Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Gyomber (Salata ’84), Skriniar, Weiss (Gregus ’46), Krosovsky, Kucka, Hamsik, Duris
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)