Germany beat Northern Ireland to advance as group winners
PARIS: Germany showed more of their usual class when Mario Gomez's first-half strike secured a 1-0 win over a stubborn Northern Ireland side and a place in the last 16 of Euro 2016 as Group C winners on Tuesday.
Although the world champions wasted countless chances at the Parc des Princes, with Thomas Mueller notably hitting the woodwork twice, they were never threatened by the Irish, who finished third and still have a chance to qualify.
Germany came top with seven points, ahead on goal difference of Poland, who progressed with a 1-0 win over already-eliminated Ukraine. Northern Ireland have three points.
The result meant that Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary progressed without kicking a ball.
In the 23rd, Gomez chested Kimmich's cross into the path of Mueller, whose half-volley went just wide of the far post. Four minutes later, Mueller's diving header hit the foot of the post.
"Will Grigg's on fire," the Northern Ireland fans sang, even though their celebrated number nine was left on the bench again.
On the half hour, Germany finally broke the deadlock when Mueller burst into the area, after being played through by Ozil, and played the ball back for Gomez, who coolly slotted the ball home albeit via a deflection off defender Gareth McAuley.
Mueller also missed a golden opportunity in the 36th minute when his effort rattled the crossbar.
Goetze then wasted two clear chances soon after the break before being replaced by Andre Schuerrle in the 55th minute.