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You are here: Football Euros Germany open Euro 2016 campaign with hard earned win over Ukraine

Germany open Euro 2016 campaign with hard earned win over Ukraine

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Goals by Shkodran Mustafi and Bastian Schweinsteiger helped World Champions Germany to a 2-0 win over Ukraine in their Group C opener at Euro 2016 in their bid for a record fourth European crown.

It was the sixth meeting between the two sides with Ukraine never having beaten Germany. However, the Germans struggled to carve open a disciplined Ukrainian defence, who were not overawed by the occasion or at the prospect of facing the world champions.

Germany took the lead in the 19th minute with Shkodran Mustafi's perfectly timed header giving them a 1-0 halftime lead. It was the rookie centre back's first international goal. Mustafi beat his marker and towered above everyone else to meet Toni Kroos' curling free kick from the right after Thomas Muller had won Germany a half-chance.

Ukraine were not bogged down after conceding and despite Germany's superiority, they had chances of their own. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made two crucial saves. He first stopped Yevhen Konoplyanka with a dive towards his left and then tipped over Yevhen Khacheridi's effort from close range. Defender Jerome Boateng cleared a goal bound effort off the line while Ukraine also had a goal ruled out for offside in the closing stages of the first half.

Germany sorted out their defensive issues in the second half and produced a much improved display at the back, restricting Ukraine to virtually nothing of note at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

With Ukraine becoming increasingly desperate, Germany found themselves finding more space to operate, and Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil was denied by Ukraine's keeper in a one-on-one.

In the final seconds though, substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger made the points safe for Germany as he latched on to a pinpoint Mesut Ozil cross, at the end of a swift counter-attack, to produce a classy finish on the half-volley.