Germany beat Northern Ireland to top Group C
Updated: 2016-06-22 10:14
Mario Gomez (R) of Germany celebrates scoring the opening goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 group C preliminary round match between Northern Ireland and Germany at Parc des Princes in Paris, France, June 21 2016. [Photo/IC]
PARIS - Mario Gomez scored the only goal to help Germany beat Northern Ireland 1-0 to qualify for the knockout stage as Group C leader at Euro 2016 here on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland, playing their first major tournament since 1986, also booked a berth in the last 16 after finishing as one of the best third-placed teams.
The 30-year-old Gomez fired home from close range in th 30th minute after unselfish play inside the area by Thomas Muller, who laid it into his teammate's path to put the world champions ahead.
But Germany's superiority was actually far more than the scoreline has suggested.
In the 36th minute, Muller's instinctive first-time effort hit the Northern Ireland bar and in the second half Mario Gotze's chances were saved by Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
McGovern, who plays for Scottish club Hamilton Academical, was undoubtedly Northern Ireland's Man of the Match as he single-handedly denied Germany eight goals during the match.
Joachim Low, the head coach of Germany, gave a lot of credit to Northern Ireland: "With all due respect to Northern Ireland, who did very well in qualifying, they were always going to throw everything into this match because it's the game of their lives. It was to be expected that they fought hard and showed passion. "