Euro 2016 round up: Germany 3 Slovakia 0 - and what the result means

German players Thomas Mueller (left) and Jerome Boateng (centre) celebrate after the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between Germany and Slovakia at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille Metropole, France, on June 26, 2016.
German players Thomas Mueller (left) and Jerome Boateng (centre) celebrate after the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between Germany and Slovakia at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille Metropole, France, on June 26, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

What a difference a month makes. Four weeks ago, Slovakia stunned the world champions 3-1 in Germany's backyard. Die Mannschaft have not conceded a goal since.

Jerome Boateng helped Germany keep another clean sheet on Sunday, and netted at the other end too.

The centre-back volleyed an 8th-minute opener to send Germany on their way to the quarter-finals.

Not even Mesut Ozil's missed penalty in the first half could slow the German machine down in Lille.

Mario Gomez scored a tap-in two minutes before the break to become his country's joint-top scorer at the European Championships. The striker and Jurgen Klinsmann have five goals at the continental showpiece.

 
 
 

Midfielder Julian Draxler got his first competitive goal for Germany in the 63rd minute, volleying home from inside the six-yard box.

If rivals were relieved to see Joachim Low's side score just once with their last 44 shots before arriving at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, they should be worried now.

Germany are peaking, but not yet in fourth gear. This was a dominant but controlled performance.

Die Mannschaft need not look too far to know that tougher tests await. They are certain to face a finalist from Euro 2012 on Saturday - Italy or Spain. But if Manuel Neuer cannot be beaten, they will fancy their chances.

This is Germany's best defensive start ever at the Euros. Not even the class of 96 managed four clean sheets in a row. They kept three clean sheets in the group stage - and went on to win the title.

Match highlights

- In the 6th minute, Draxler was fouled by Norbert Gyomber. Toni Kroos took the free kick on the right flank and his delivery was met by the Sami Khedira. Matus Kozacik tipped the header over the bar for a corner. Slovakia centre-back Jan Durica half-cleared the corner, with the ball falling to Boateng outside the box. The defender hit it first time and found the bottom left corner.

- In the 12th minute, Martin Skrtel pushed Gomez in the box and Germany were awareded a penalty. Ozil's spotkick was saved, with Kozacik diving to his left and getting both hands on the ball.

- In the 24th minute, Gomez's knockout down fell to Ozil and he fired wide.

- In the 41st minute, Slovakia created their best chance of the half. Peter Pekarik, on the right flank, hung a cross to the back post. Juraj Kucka aimed a header to the top-right corner but Neuer tipped it over the bar.

- Two minutes later, Gomez doubled Germany's advantage. Draxler got behind the Slovakia defence on the left, and his cut back was tapped in by the striker.

- In the 49th minute, Kucka stung the palms of Neuer with a clean, powerful strike from 25 yards out. But Germany's No. 1 was able to catch the shot that was fired straight at him.

- In the 63rd minute, Draxler made it 3-0. Kroos' corner was headed by Mats Hummels. The ball stays in the air for some time but Draxler was somehow unmarked on the left of the six-yard box. He volleyed into the roof of the net.

- In stoppage time, Kroos forced a big save from Kozacik from 12 yards.

The talking point

Gomez has validated Low's decision to keep him in the starting line-up. Since the 30-year-old led the line against the Northern Ireland, he has been effective. He scored the winner against Michael O'Neill's men and was a handful on Sunday. The only out-and-out striker that Germany brought to France was a physical presence. He won a penalty, scored a goal, and linked up well with his team-mates.

Mario Gotze, who scored the winner at the 2014 World Cup, will find it difficult to get back in the side. While he struggled as a false nine in the opening two games against Ukraine and Poland, he was dropped back to midfield against Northern Ireland. Against Slovakia, he was dropped for Draxler, who also put in a good shift.

It might be time for Gotze to consider leaving Bayern Munich in the summer for more regular football.

Man of the Match

Draxler. The Wolfsburg man won the free kick in the build-up to the opener, got behind the Slovakian defence on numerous occasions, provided an assist, and got on the scoresheet. Not since Philipp Lahm in 2008 against Turkey has a Germany player scored and assisted at the European Championship.

What the result means

Germany will face either Italy or Spain in Bordeaux for a place in the semi-finals. Low's record of leading Germany to the semi-finals or better in all major tournaments will be on the line. Can he make it five out of five?

 Slovakia's maiden appearance at the European Championship has ended with them achieving their aim of reaching the last 16.

Key statistic

Germany scored as many goals against Slovakia as they did in their entire group stage.

What they said

Draxler: "I am happy I played a good game and helped the side. We have a lot of quality in our side, it is not a problem not to play matches and I wanted to show in training I could play in the side."

Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik: "It is a pity we lost this way, looking back in the championship, I am happy with what we have achieved. They had a lot of possession, we tried to hit on the counter-attack. We had one chance in the first half."