Euro 2016 round up: Germany 0 Poland 0 - and what the result means

Germany's Toni Kroos (left) vying for the ball against Poland's Arkadiusz Milik.
Germany's Toni Kroos (left) vying for the ball against Poland's Arkadiusz Milik.PHOTO: AFP

Geographically, a border separates Germany and Poland. At the Stade de France in Paris, there was nothing between the two sides.

Germany had more possession (63 per cent) and more attempts at goal (15 to seven). But Poland created the best two chances of the game.

They both fell to forward Arkadiusz Milik. Twice he fluffed it. To say it fell to the wrong man would be unkind. Milik scored the winner against Northern Ireland and had six goals and as many assists in qualifying.

Had his diving header made a slightly firmer contact on the ball, Poland would have led in the 46th minute. If that miss affected his confidence, it showed in the 68th minute. A low cross fell kindly into his path. But as he shaped to shoot with his favoured left foot, he conspired to miss the ball completely.

 

His more illustrious partner Robert Lewandowski might have done better. Yet for the second straight game, he failed to register a shot on target. This was a game between neighbours, and the German defence were all too familiar with what the Poland captain can do.

The Bayern Munich striker scored 47 goals in 57 German Bundesliga starts in the last two seasons. Club mate Jerome Boateng gave him little breathing room and Bayern No. 1 Manuel Neuer picked up a second straight clean sheet.

Few would have predicted that this clash would be the tournament's first goal-less draw. But Germany's last 0-0 - in a friendly over two years ago - was against Poland.

Match highlights

 - Julian Draxler's cross from the left flank is met by Mario Gotze but he headed over. That fifth-minute effort ultimately proved to be Germany's best chance of the first half.

- Thomas Muller dispossessed Lukasz Piszczek in the 17th minute. He surged into the box and delivered a low ball to Toni Kroos. The midfielder slid in and could only poke the ball wide.

- Lewandowski worked an opening at the edge of the box in the 21st minute, but Benedikt Howedes closed down quickly and blocked the shot. Seconds later, Lewandowski had another attempt closer to goal, with Mats Hummels the defender that put his body on the line.

- In the opening minute of the second half, Grzegoz Krychowiak whipped in a delicious cross for Milik. The Poland forward dived in but could not get a clean connection with his header. Still, he should have scored from two yards out.

- Lukasz Fabianski was finally made to work in the 49th minute. Gotze's shot in the box was low and straight at him though.

- Ten minutes later, the ball broke for Lewandowski. He looked through on goal at the edge of the area, but Boateng made up the ground and executed a perfectly-time challenge.

- Milik wasted another glorius opportunity to open the scoring in the 68th minute. Lewandowski led a counter-attack, spreading the ball wide to Kamil Grosicki. The winger drilled a low centre towards the penalty spot, only for Milik to take an air-shot.

- Germany went down the other end, and Mesut Ozil forced Fabianski into a fine save.

The talking point

Can Germany manager Joachim Low afford to keep employing Gotze as a false nine. The Bayern Munich midfielder, who struggled for playing time at the Allianz Arena, was a frustrated figure up front. The world champions showed little threat in the final third and were largely restricted to half-chances and shots from distance.

Man of the Match

Boateng. His challenge of Lewandowski in the second half was arguably a goal-saving tackle. Had the Pole been able to get a shot away, Germany would probably have conceded. Boateng made a total of 10 defensive interventions on the night.

What the result means

Germany retain their place on top of Group C going into their final group game against Northern Ireland. A win on Tuesday that is of the same margin as Poland, who face Ukraine, will see them finish as group winners.

Poland and Northern Ireland still have a mathematical chance of topping the group and earning a round-of-16 clash against the third-placed team from either Group A, B or F. The runners-up will meet the second-placed them from Group A, which as things stand is Switzerland.

One thing is certain - Ukraine will finish bottom of Group C. They have the dubious honour of becoming the first team to have no chance of making the knockout stages after two games played.

Key statistic

Germany had no shots on target in the first half of a Euro match for the first time since 1988, when they faced Italy. And the last time Die Mannschaft failed to find the net in the continental showpiece was in the 2008 final - a 1-0 loss to Spain.

What they said

Boateng: "We didn't take the game to our opponents, we weren't dangerous enough and we have to improve that or we won't get far."

Poland coach Adam Nawalka: "The players put a lot of heart into it. The only thing I'm not completely happy about is our failure to score but 0-0 was a fair scoreline."