Germany starts Euro campaign with a difficult win
UEFA Euro 2016: Germany 2-0 Ukraine
The World Champions scored a goal at the 19th minute and then counted on Neuer to make a few great saves to preserve the 1-0 lead until Schweinsteiger sealed the victory at the 90+2 minute. Ukraine played with no fear and were solid defensively.
Joachim Löw, Germany coach reacts after the win:
“It was an intense and fast-paced game. In the first half we had a few problems going forward, losing the ball and giving them the chance to counter but in the second half we did very well, keeping our shape and moving the ball about well. We dominated – it wasn’t easy against a good Ukrainian defence but we found solutions and overall I’m very satisfied.
Ukraine were very good from set pieces – they really whipped them into the box and put men forward. We defended better in the second half and Bastian Schweinsteiger was delighted to make such a great comeback after so many weeks slogging to get back to fitness.
The Poland game is going to be decisive as both teams have won and the result of that one will shape how the group finishes. Obviously we have a lot of players out injured but I think the players who did play did a very good job. We were always able to transition from defence into attack.
Manuel Neuer is the best keeper in the world and I told him this the other day. For me, the captain’s armband isn’t that important – we’ve got Khedira, Schweinsteiger … lots of leaders in the squad and Manuel is one of them”.
Toni Kroos, man of the match comments as well:
“My role was to bring our game out from the back. I want to get our most dangerous players on the ball in good positions and it worked well tonight. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue in that vein.
All the Real Madrid players came into this tournament in great spirits after winning the Champions League. It’s great for me to have been able to keep that winning feeling tonight but we’re under no illusions – it was only the first game.
We need to be a bit cleverer if we want to win this tournament but I’m confident. I think we dominated the first 25 minutes or so but over 90 minutes you’re always going to go through a spell where you don’t have as tight a grip on things. Ukraine noticed that we weren’t finding our passes and pressed us higher up the pitch, forcing a couple of mistakes. We got it together in the end, though”.