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Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill sees Euro 2016 opponents Germany flourish with victory over Italy

By Staff Reporter

Published 30/03/2016

Winning smile: Mario Gotze is delighted after hitting the net
Winning smile: Mario Gotze is delighted after hitting the net

Germany - Northern Ireland's final group opponents at Euro 2016 - bounced back from their weekend loss to England in emphatic style with a 4-1 victory over Italy in Munich, their first win over the Azzurri since 1995.

With Michael O'Neill watching in the stands, Joachim Low's World champions took control after establishing a 2-0 lead, Toni Kroos striking in the 24th minute and Mario Gotze doubling the advantage with a 45th-minute header.

Unlike Saturday, there was no collapse from the Germans. Jonas Hector made it 3-0 just before the hour mark and Mesut Ozil added a penalty with 15 minutes to go before Stephan El Shaarawy registered a consolation for the visitors in the 82nd minute.

Turkey produced a comeback to see off Austria 2-1 in Vienna, Hakan Calhanoglu and Arda Turan securing the victory after Zlatko Junuzovic had made it 1-0 to the home team, and Switzerland lost 2-0 to Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zurich thanks to Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic goals.

Albania also won by a 2-0 margin away against 10-man Luxembourg as Armando Sadiku and Sokol Cikalleshi netted, while Iceland came from 2-0 down to triumph 3-2 in Greece.

A Kostas Fortounis brace had the Greeks looking comfortable, but efforts from Arnor Traustason, Sverrir Ingi Ingason and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson took the away side to victory.

Elsewhere, there were 2-0 wins for Norway at home against Finland and Bulgaria in Macedonia, Latvia emerged with a 5-0 victory from their trip to Gibraltar, Serbia beat Estonia 1-0 away, Georgia drew 1-1 at home with Kazakhstan and the match between Montenegro and Belarus finished 0-0.

Belfast Telegraph

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