Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille
June 26, 2016
Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng (Howedes 71’), Hummels, Hector, Kroos, Khedira (Schweinsteiger, 76’) Muller, Ozil, Draxler (Podolski, 71’), Gomez.
Kozacik, Pekarik, Skrtel, Durica, Gyomber (Salata, 84’), Hrosovsky, Skriniar, Hamsik, Kucka, Duris (Sestak, 64’) Weiss.
Germany met Slovakia in Lille on Sunday and there was quite a bit of chatter about the pitch. The field was pretty beaten up after the Ireland-Italy match and was immediately re-laid but did not look in great shape. However, the Germans got right down to business. Hummels was busy immediately, first with a pass to Hector and then a chance himself after a pass from Kroos. And a minute later, Kroos made another attempt which was headed out to Durica This landed perfectly for Jerome Boateng to score his first international goal in the 8th minute. This was the second match of the day and the second match to have a quick goal.
Only five minutes later, the Germans had another big chance. Skrtel received a yellow after shoving Mario Gomez in the box and gave up a penalty. Mezut Ozil took it with seeming ease but Slovak keeper Kozacik guessed correctly and saved the penalty, leaving Slovakia still in the running.
Slovakia was pretty much out of their depth for the rest of the match. Hummels, Draxler and Ozil had their way through the midfield, leaving Slovakia’s Gyomber regularly on the wrong foot. The only real chance Slovakia had was close to the half when Pekarik sent a good cross for Kucka but Neuer was able to palm it over the net. But that was not the final say in the first half – that came from Mario Gomez with a goal in the 43rd minute. This goal was beautiful teamwork. Hector sent a nice shot to Khedira who played it to Draxler. Draxler’s beautiful play put him in a perfect place to send a low cross near post, right in the path of Mario Gomez. And that’s the half.
The second half opened with a hand ball and a yellow card by Kimmich, trying to get past Hamsik. Slovakia started to put some passes together and keep possession but just past the hour mark, Draxler actually scored himself. Again, a nice bit of teamwork as Kroos aimed for the back post which Hummels headed over to Draxler who volleyed the ball into the near post corner. A lovely shot. Honestly, that’s all she wrote. The final half hour saw some substitutions like Watishista favorites, Podolski and Schweinsteiger but Germany had this match wrapped up and ready to go. A fourth goal was nearly there with a Muller shot to Kroos but Kozack was able to save it in the dying minutes of the match. All in all, a good showing by the Germans who will meet Italy next Saturday in Bordeaux. That should be fun to watch!