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domingo, 12 de junio de 2016

UEFA 16: Germany 2-0 Ukraine: Shkodran Mustafi's emphatic header and Bastian Schweinsteiger's clincher help Joachim Low's World Cup-winning side land victory in Lille

Germany 2-0 Ukraine: Shkodran Mustafi's emphatic header and Bastian Schweinsteiger's clincher help Joachim Low's World Cup-winning side land victory in Lille

  • Germany took on Mykhaylo Fomenko's Ukraine for their first European Championship tie in Group C on Sunday night
  • Valencia centre half Shkodran Mustafi gave Joachim Low's side a 19th-minute lead with a bullet header from a free-kick
  • The 24-year-old was playing instead of the more experienced Mats Hummels at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille
  • Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger wrapped up the win late on after a cross from Mesut Ozil.
  • Factory settings have been restored and the German machine is in working order, starting another major tournament with a win as it was carefully designed to do.
Germany have never lost their opening fixture in the European Championship and stretched that sequence to a dozen games by beating Ukraine in Lille on Sunday night.
Shkodran Mustafi headed in the first and Bastian Schweinsteiger came off the bench to grab a very popular second and it felt rather ominous but this was by no means a comfortable victory.
Germany's Shkodran Mustafi (right) celebrates with Sami Khedira (No 6) and Jerome Boateng (No 17) after scoring against the Ukraine
Germany's Shkodran Mustafi (right) celebrates with Sami Khedira (No 6) and Jerome Boateng (No 17) after scoring against the Ukraine
Valencia's 24-year-old centre half Mustafi gave Joachim Low's side a 19th-minute lead with a bullet header from a free-kick
Valencia's 24-year-old centre half Mustafi gave Joachim Low's side a 19th-minute lead with a bullet header from a free-kick
Germany's players celebrate during their first European Championship match of this tournament in Group C on Sunday night
Germany's players celebrate during their first European Championship match of this tournament in Group C on Sunday night
Mustafi (No 2, left) - who was at English side Everton between 2009 and 2012 - enjoys his header with five of his colleagues
Mustafi (No 2, left) - who was at English side Everton between 2009 and 2012 - enjoys his header with five of his colleagues
Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger sealed Germany's victory with a smart finish after a cross from Mesut Ozil
Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger sealed Germany's victory with a smart finish after a cross from Mesut Ozil
Schweinsteiger, 31, (left) watches as his shot finds the back of the net, past Ukraine's 31-year-old goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov (right)
Schweinsteiger, 31, (left) watches as his shot finds the back of the net, past Ukraine's 31-year-old goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov (right)
Schweinsteiger (No 7) - who came on for Mario Gotze (right) in the 90th-minute - scored in added time for the World Cup-winning side
Schweinsteiger (No 7) - who came on for Mario Gotze (right) in the 90th-minute - scored in added time for the World Cup-winning sideThere were times when Ukraine's vibrant counter-attacking style disturbed Joachim Low's side and Manuel Neuer was required to make two exceptional saves in the first-half.
Germany took risks at the back, were always vulnerable and needed to survive a nervy spell at the end which featured a near-miss when Mustafi almost headed an equaliser into his own goal.
At the other end, they wasted good opportunities to extend the lead, but Toni Kroos was a supreme presence in midfield, where he dictated long periods of the game.
Schweinsteiger, making his first appearance since March, came on to the soothe the nerves, converting on the half-volley after a magnificent break and cross by Mesut Ozil on the left.
Low will expect to iron out the finer details as the competition progresses. 
Form has been inconsistent since Brazil but Germany are in France on a mission to win their first European title for 20 years.
Mario Gotze, hero of Rio, started up front rather than Mario Gomez, and was soon sidling through the Ukraine defence, prompting a chance fired wide by Julian Draxler.
Only five minutes had gone and it set the tone for a fluent opening to a thrilling game, with Neuer soon forced into action at the other end.
Germany's worries have been at the back as the tournament approached with injuries to centre halves Mats Hummels and Toni Rudiger, and concerns about Jonas Hector at left back. 
Ukraine's Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk right back Artem Fedetskiy (left) tackles Germany's Wolfsburg winger Julian Draxler near the touchline
Ukraine's Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk right back Artem Fedetskiy (left) tackles Germany's Wolfsburg winger Julian Draxler near the touchline
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk forward Roman Zozulya goes up for the ball with Mustafi at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, near Lille
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk forward Roman Zozulya goes up for the ball with Mustafi at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, near Lille
Ukraine's players in yellow and blue, and Germany's in white and black, contest for the ball in the air during the Euro 2016 clash
Ukraine's players in yellow and blue, and Germany's in white and black, contest for the ball in the air during the Euro 2016 clash
Ukraine's first effort came from Hector's area of the pitch, although it was Mustafi losing possession on the left to Artem Fedetskiy, who spotted Yevhen Konoplyanka on the edge of the penalty box.
Konoplyanka connected well with the pass, sending a shot curling towards the top corner but Neuer sprang to his left and turned it over with a strong flick of a wrist.
Germany's goalkeeper, captain in the absence of Schweinsteiger, produced another splendid reflex save to turn over a powerful header from Yevhen Khacheridi.
By this point, his team were 1-0 ahead and he was protecting a lead from a goal in the 19th minute by Mustafi, who would not have played had Hummels been considered fit.
Mustafi climbed above Serhiy Sydorchuk to connect brilliantly with a free-kick expertly delivered by Kroos.
Ukraine disputed the free-kick with good reason. It was awarded by Premier League referee Martin Atkinson when Thomas Muller fell theatrically over a tackle from Yaroslav Rakitskiy who took the ball cleanly.
Germany seized on their fortune. Sami Khedira ought to have made it two when released by another Kroos pass, soon afterwards, but the save by goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov inspired his team.
Germany forward Gotze (left) goes to ground in an attempt to tackle Ukraine's veteran left back, Vyacheslav Shevchuk (right)
Germany forward Gotze (left) goes to ground in an attempt to tackle Ukraine's veteran left back, Vyacheslav Shevchuk (right)
German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (in the black jersey) correctly appeals for offside against a Ukraine goal in the first period 
German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (in the black jersey) correctly appeals for offside against a Ukraine goal in the first period 
Thomas Muller of Germany is placated by then-substitute Schweinsteiger as he walks off of the pitch at half-time in Lille
Thomas Muller of Germany is placated by then-substitute Schweinsteiger as he walks off of the pitch at half-time in Lille
 Bayern Munich's Gotze (No 19) tries to escape the challenges of several Ukraine players as he goes on a mazy dribble
 Bayern Munich's Gotze (No 19) tries to escape the challenges of several Ukraine players as he goes on a mazy dribble
Ukraine's Dynamo Kiev centre back Yevhen Khacheridi (left) chases Germany's Cologne left back Jonas Hector (right)
Ukraine's Dynamo Kiev centre back Yevhen Khacheridi (left) chases Germany's Cologne left back Jonas Hector (right)
Ukraine finished the first-half on top with a sequence of corners and great threat from the flanks.
Jerome Boateng turned Konoplyanka's mishit effort towards his own goal but reacted in time to hook the ball clear before it had crossed the line. With goal line technology in play there was no mistake.
Moments later, Atkinson and his English team of officials made the correct call when they ruled out a goal by Andriy Yarmolenko.
Germany performed with more control after the break. Pyatov threw himself around, keeping out long-range attempts from Draxler, Kroos and Khedira. Kroos also clipped the post from long-range.
Neuer saved a free-kick from Rakitskiy but the challenge of Ukraine faded.
Boss Mykhailo Fomenko sent on fresh legs but Pyatov remained by far the busier of the two goalkeepers in the second half.
He saved from Muller, and Andre Schurrle - sent on by Low in a bid to punish the tiring Ukrainians - fired wide. 
As Ukraine detected a late point, on came Schweinsteiger to score the second.
After a difficult campaign at Manchester United the relief was clear as he sprinted off on an elaborate celebration and Germany’s fans, who roared him onto the pitch for the last few minutes, rose to salute him. 
Germany's 56-year-old manager Joachim Low wore a casual grey T-shirt to watch his team take on Mykhaylo Fomenko's outfit
Germany's 56-year-old manager Joachim Low wore a casual grey T-shirt to watch his team take on Mykhaylo Fomenko's outfit
Arsenal playmaker Ozil (left) turns away from danger as he is marked by Shakhtar Donetsk defensive midfielder Taras Stepanenko
Arsenal playmaker Ozil (left) turns away from danger as he is marked by Shakhtar Donetsk defensive midfielder Taras Stepanenko
Viktor Kovalenko (centre) is challenged by Juventus' Khedira (No 6) as Real Madrid's Toni Kroos (right) runs clear with the ball
Viktor Kovalenko (centre) is challenged by Juventus' Khedira (No 6) as Real Madrid's Toni Kroos (right) runs clear with the ball
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