Euro 2016

Germany start Euro with a win

2016-06-13 07:40
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Getty Images)

Lille - Bastian Schweinsteiger had time for three touches of the ball and scored with one as world champions Germany started their European Championship campaign with a 2-0 win over Ukraine.

The 31-year-old Manchester United midfielder came on in the 90th minute and quickly put away a perfect pass from Mesut Ozil for the deciding goal.

With fan violence again tainting the tournament, Germany's win followed 1-0 victories for Poland over Northern Ireland and Croatia over Turkey.

Schweinsteiger is coming back from a three month knee ligament layoff and the the joy of his first international goal in five years apparently took a toll.

"I ran so hard in the celebrations that I'm a bit out of breath still.

"It was amazing for that to happen, it's the kind of thing you can only wish for, but the most important thing is the team wins," he said of his quickfire goal in the Group C match.

Defender Shkodran Mustafi headed the opener in the first half but goalkeeper Manuel Neus had to make several key saves and Jerome Boateng made a spectacular goalline clearance to block a sure equaliser.

Germany coach Joachim Loew hailed Boateng, who was the target of right-wing German politician Alexander Gauland this month. Gauland said Germans would not want Boateng as their neighbour and that the national team was no longer "German in the classical sense."

"It is good to have Jerome Boateng as your neighbour in the defence," countered Loew.

"He sees dangerous situations, he reacted and very clearly the ball was not behind the line."

The evening was only blemished by fighting between German and Ukraine supporters in Lille before the game.

German police said they arrested 21 known hooligans who tried to get across the border. Another 50 leading suspects took part in the skirmishes which followed the major battles between Russia and England fans in Marseille.

Read more on:    germany  |  euro 2016  |  soccer

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