Germany vs. Ukraine: Germans show strength with 2-0 Euro 2016 win

    Story highlights

    • Germany 2-0 Ukraine
    • Shkodran Mustafi heads in first goal
    • Sebastian Schweinsteiger scores late second

    Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille (CNN)With European soccer's continental showpiece reeling from hooliganism outbreaks, Germany and Ukraine served up an entertaining game that was high on technical ability and no little drama on the pitch.

    The current world champions have won the European Championship three times -- in 1972, 1980 and 1996 -- and despite some indifferent form since its 2014 World Cup triumph, Joachim Low's team served notice of the danger they will pose at Euro 2016 with an impressive 2-0 win.
      Ten of Germany's starting 11 players Sunday had been involved in its 2014 World Cup success and with Toni Kroos orchestrating the midfield, Low's side went ahead after the German midfielder's free kick was headed in by Shkodran Mustafi.
      Not that Ukraine didn't trouble Germany -- far from it.
      German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was frequently called into action and Jerome Boateng brilliantly cleared off the line in the first half.
      Even so Ukraine's Andriy Pyatov was much the busier of the two keepers and Germany's dominant performance was rewarded with a second goal in stoppage time, Bastian Schweinsteiger rounding off a rapid counterattack.
      After the game, Ukraine coach Mykhailo Fomenko described Germany as a "machine," though ominously Kroos suggested there was more to come.
      "We are not yet at the level we want to achieve, but it's quite a nice beginning," said the Real Madrid midfielder after the game.

      Emotions

      The official slogan of Euro 2016 is Le Rendez-Vous with governing body UEFA hoping fans would "meet up and share the emotions of an elite-level tournament."
      Unfortunately some fans have had a different idea of rendezvousing since the tournament kicked off -- literally -- Friday.
      After trouble between England and Russian fans in Marseille, German and Ukrainian supporters clashed in Lille before Sunday's game, according to the AFP news agency, while there was low level violence before Sunday's Northern Ireland and Poland match in Nice.
      However, the atmosphere in the in the 50,000 capacity Stade Pierre Mauroy appeared to be good natured.
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      Earlier two fans told CNN that supporting Ukraine and coming to France was a "chance to make memories in our personal lives."
      Maxime and Nika Yelizarenko, who were born in Ukraine but now live in Canada, had traveled from Toronto, paying $4,700 for a three-week package.
      "Compared to watching ice hockey in Canada, that's quite good value," Maxime told CNN.
      Meanwhile Vadym Luikasyk and Natalie Kostiuchenko had journeyed from Kiev to Lille to watch their team play in a trip costing $3,000.
      "Ukraine is not so often part of the European Championship," said Vadym, explaining why they had made the trek to France.
      They would have been buoyed by Ukraine's start -- Yevhen Konoplyanka testing Neuer -- but gradually Germany asserted control.
      That dominance was rewarded when Mustafi powered in a header past Pyatov from Kroos' free kick.
      Pyatov was soon in action again superbly blocking an effort from Sami Khedira after the Juventus midfielder was sent clear by a Kroos pass.
      In between the goal and Khedira's effort, Yevhen Khacheridi did force a reflex one-handed save from Neuer.
      Boateng then athletically hacked the ball off the line after Konoplyanka threatened, while Andriy Yarmolenko had a goal ruled out for offside.
      As Ukraine grew in confidence, midfielder Serhiy Sydorchuk's trickery in bamboozling a couple of German defenders had the team's supporters purring in appreciation.
      After the restart Germany was quickly back in the groove and Pyatov had to punch away Julian Draxler's shot, while a dipping effort from the imperious Kroos clipped the woodwork.
      Germany's defender Jerome Boateng clears the ball from his goal.
      Ukraine might have been on the back foot, but Yaroslav's Rakiskiy's low shot -- saved by Neuer -- demonstrated that Fomenko's team were still very much in this game with German unable to extend its lead.
      But those waves of German attacks kept coming, Draxler narrowly heading over Benedikt Howedes' cross.
      Late on Mesut Ozil had a chance to add that second goal for Germany, but Pyatov again was Ukraine's savior.
      In stoppage time Germany deservedly doubled their lead when Ozil crossed for substitute Schweinsteiger who sumptuously stroked the ball past Pyatov.
      Germany's win moved them top of Group C on goal difference ahead of Poland, who had earlier beaten Northern Ireland.
      Poland and Germany now play on Thursday June 16, while Ukraine faces Northern Ireland.

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