Friday, October 20, 2017

Germany 0 Poland 0: Milik fluffs lines in Saint-Denis stalemate

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Jun 2016

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World champions Germany and Group C rivals Poland played out a goalless draw at the Stade de France, which leaves both nations in good shape to qualify for the last 16 and eliminates Ukraine from contention.

After opening-match wins, victory on Thursday for either side would have secured a spot in the knockout phase, but for the most part the game failed to capture the imagination.

Indeed, it was not until the opening minute of the second half that the first real opening materialised – Arkadiusz Milik somehow failing to connect with a dangerous Kamil Grosicki cross.

Mario Gotze stung Lukasz Fabianski’s palms at the other end, with the Poland goalkeeper also alert to keep out Mesut Ozil.

There was still time for another moment to forget for Milik as he fluffed an attempt from the lively Grosicki’s pass, with Poland left to rue an excellent chance to record just their second win against Germany.

Adam Nawalka’s men conclude their group campaign against Ukraine, who were beaten 2-0 by Germany’s next opponents Northern Ireland earlier on Thursday and now have nothing more than pride to play for.

Fabianski deputised for injured former Arsenal team-mate Wojciech Szczesny in Poland’s goal, while Shkodran Mustafi – who scored in Germany’s 2-0 win over Ukraine – was replaced by Mats Hummels.

Poland, 1-0 victors over Northern Ireland in their opener, faced an early threat as Gotze headed Julian Draxler’s swinging cross over the target.

Assiduous work from Thomas Muller saw him rob the ball off right-back Lukasz Piszczek and lay on a chance for Toni Kroos, but the Real Madrid midfielder had to stretch and could only divert his 16th-minute effort wide.

Joachim Low’s side were far from their fluent best, though, and Poland grew into the contest, with Milik and Robert Lewandowski combining well before forcing a block from Hummels.

Gotze struck Fabianski’s left-hand upright with a shot from the edge of the box before the break, but saw the linesman’s flag raised anyway as Muller – who had laid the ball back for him – was offside. 

Poland – who beat Germany for the first time in qualifying for the tournament – should have taken the lead with their first attack of the second half, but Milik failed to make proper contact with Grosicki’s teasing delivery.

Nawalka’s charges continued to pose a threat and Milik had Manuel Neuer diving to his near post as the Ajax forward’s effort from a set-piece flew narrowly wide before the hour.

After Milik took a swing and a miss at Grosicki’s cross, Ozil’s strike was tipped over by Fabianski, with both sides pressing for a winner.

But it did not materialise as two teams who shared six goals in qualifying for the tournament played out the first goalless draw of this year’s European Championship.

 

Key Opta Facts:

– Sami Khedira picked up the earliest yellow card so far at Euro 2016 in just the third minute.
– Germany failed to direct a single shot on target in the first half of a European Championship finals game for the first time since 1988 versus Italy.
– Germany failed to score for first time in last 15 games in major finals (since losing 1-0 to Spain in 2010 World Cup).
– Poland failed to register a single shot on target for the first time in a major finals game.

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