World champions matched in scoreless draw

Germany and Poland have played out the first goalless draw of Euro 2016 at the Stade de France, as neither side could break the deadlock despite some golden opportunities. Arkadiusz Milik came closest to scoring just after half time when he missed the target with an open, close-range header, while Germany dominated possession and territory and had plenty of chances. The first half was lifeless, and while Mario Gotze could have scored with a header and Toni Kroos had a brilliant chance inside the area neither side really looked like hitting the scoresheet. The game was devoid of energy, and while Poland were sitting back in defence the Germans never looked like penetrating their solid formation.

Even still, Poland needed to show some more flair in the second half, and Milik had the best chance of the game less than a minute after play resumed. Kamil Grosicki made a good run down the right wing, and his cross travelled across the German goalmouth into a dangerous position. Manuel Neuer was out of the equation, and Milik only needed to get his head to a good cross to put the chance away. He could only manage a glancing blow, and Germany received a massive let-off. The missed opportunity breathed new life into the game, and shortly afterwards Gotze had a chance when he found the ball inside the box. He was closed down well by Michal Pazdan, and Lukasz Fabianski could make an easy save. Milik had another shot after Robert Lewandowski played a close range free kick in his direction. He missed the target with his attempt, but he may have caught Neuer out of position had he found the bottom corner. Lewandowski went one-on-one seconds later, but Jerome Boateng was able to slide in late and block the shot.

Poland were pushing hard, but the game was still on fairly equal terms. Grosicki found Milik in the box, but the Ajax forward could not connect properly with the ball, missing yet another brilliant chance. Germany pushed back, and Mesut Ozil made better use of his opportunities when presented with a similar chance at the other end. His shot was dangerous, and Fabianski did well to tip it over the bar. The Germans took back the initiative, but excellent attacking positions were not enough for them. Andre Schurrle, Kroos, Thomas Muller and Benedikt Howedes all missed good chances, and Germany were unable to make the most of dominance in possession. Grosicki’s free kick came incredibly close as it travelled just over the bar, and no player would come closer for the rest of the match.

Saint-Denis – Stade de France
Germany 0
Poland 0
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Ned)

Germany (4-2-3-1): Neuer – Howedes, Boateng, Hummels, Hector; Kroos, Khedira; Muller, Ozil, Draxler (Gomez 72); Gotze (Schurrle 66).
Poland (4-4-2): Fabianski – Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk; Blaszczykowski (Kapustka 80), Krychowiak, Maczynski (Jodlowiec 76), Grosicki (Peszko 87); Milik, Lewandowski.

Top 5
1. Mats Hummels (Germany)
Hummels was the sole change made to the German side as he made his return from injury, and he showed very positive signs. His work curbing the influence of Robert Lewandowski was excellent throughout, and he was able to cut off a lot of Poland’s attacks before they were able to reach the final third. He was at the top of his game and he looks to be in good touch.
2. Kamil Grosicki (Poland)
Grosicki created the best chance of the game with his cross to Milik just after half time, and he continued to cause problems before he was replaced with three minutes to go. He was able to play from both the left and the right, and aside from setting up some great opportunities he nearly scored late with a free kick. He could have easily been a match winner, and his class shone through.
3. Michal Pazdan (Poland)
Pazdan was excellent at the back for the Polish, and his work cutting off German attacks was crucial. He made several key stops on the edge of the box, and he played a big role in ensuring that Mario Gotze did not score when presented with a wonderful opportunity. He was strong defensively, and will take plenty of confidence from his performance.
4. Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Ozil struggled to get himself into the match early, but as others on the field began to tire he became a massive problem for Poland. He created plenty of chances for the German forwards, and came agonisingly close to scoring himself when his shot from the top of the area was well-saved by Lukasz Fabianski. He looked like a big threat, and was the biggest problem for the Polish defence.
5. Toni Kroos (Germany)
Kroos was in control in the centre of midfield, and his ability to win and maintain possession of the ball was one of the main reasons for Germany’s dominance of possession throughout. He had some very good chances, and was unlucky to miss the goals after being played through by Muller. He had a strong game, and showed excellent form.

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