Belfast Telegraph

Germans and Poles bore everyone and send Ukraine home

Germany 0-0 Poland

By Paul Burrows

Germany drew 0-0 with Poland in Paris to leave Euro 2016's Group C delicately balanced.

Their stalemate - despite significant quality at both ends of the pitch - leaves both teams level on four points. Germany lead second-placed Poland because their goal difference is superior by one.

Northern Ireland earlier unexpectedly defeated Ukraine 2-0 to earn their first three points of the tournament, meaning both Germany and Poland remain at risk of elimination when they next play on Tuesday.

Germany face Northern Ireland, while Poland meet Ukraine, who already know they will be heading home after two defeats.

World champions Germany struggled to build momentum, following their 2-0 defeat of Ukraine in their opening match and perhaps because of their unwillingness to take risks.

Manager Joachim Low's decision to start without a recognised striker also often left them without a focal point, even if their build-up play occasionally impressed.

As against Ukraine, they enjoyed significant spells of possession without consistently threatening. Excellent defending from Jerome Boateng denied Robert Lewandowski the goalscoring chances he needed, while Poland's Grzegorz Krychowiak contributed much to contain Germany.

Striker Arkadiusz Milik, the scorer of Poland's goal in their 1-0 win over Northern Ireland, wasted perhaps the game's two finest opportunities in the second half. The first he somehow headed wide despite having time and space directly in front of goal and the second came when he failed to cleanly strike the ball despite being well placed.

Mesut Ozil impressively tested Poland's Lukasz Fabianski with a 69th-minute curling, first-time left-footed effort from just inside the area, but the goalkeeper produced an athletic dive to tip the ball over the crossbar.

GERMANY: Neuer, Howedes, Boateng, Hummels, Hector, Kroos, Khedira, Muller, Ozil, Draxler (Gomez, 72 mins), Gotze (Schurrle, 66 mins).

Unused subs: Leno, Mustafi, Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Can, Weigl, Tah, Sane, Kimmich, ter Stegen.

Yellow cards: Khedira, Ozil, Boateng.

POLAND: Fabianski, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski (Kapustka, 80 mins),Krychowiak, Maczynski (Jodlowiec, 76 mins), Grosicki (Peszko, 87 mins),Milik, Lewandowski.

Unused subs: Szczesny, Cionek, Linetty,Stepinski, Wawrzyniak, Salamon, Zielinski, Starzynski, Boruc.

Yellow cards: Maczynski, Grosicki, Peszko.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)

Match rating: 4/10

Man of the match: Jerome Boateng

Possession: Germany 63% Poland 37%

Shots on target: Germany 3 Poland 0

Fouls committed: Germany 14 Poland 9

Belfast Telegraph