Germany 3-0 Slovakia: Julian Draxler seals Euro 2016 quarter-final spot
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 26/06/16 11:36pm
Germany turned on the style as they beat Slovakia 3-0 in Lille on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
A deflected Jerome Boateng volley gave the world champions the lead on eight minutes, before Mesut Ozil saw his penalty saved by Matus Kozacik.
The setback failed to deter Joachim Low's side as Mario Gomez added their second just before half-time (43) and Julian Draxler turned in their third from close range after the break (63).
Germany, who are yet to concede a goal at the tournament, will face the winner of Italy against Spain in the last eight at the Stade de Bordeaux on July 2.
Meanwhile, the defeat for Slovakia, who qualified as a best third-place finisher from Group B behind Wales and England, means they are eliminated.
Germany brought in Draxler for Mario Gotze in their only change from the 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland, and they quickly made their early pressure count.
Boateng, who was a doubt for the game with a calf injury, volleyed home from the edge of the box to give Joachim Low's side the perfect start, although a slight deflection off Milan Skriniar helped to find the bottom corner.
It should have got even better for Germany when Martin Skrtel pushed Gomez in the penalty area five minutes later, presenting Ozil with the chance from the spot.
But for the first time at a major tournament since the 2010 World Cup a German player failed from 12 yards as Kozacik dived to his left to palm clear Ozil's tentative effort.
Germany remained in control despite the error, Ozil's third penalty miss in a row for club and country, and went close again through Ozil and then Draxler as they looked to translate their dominance into goals.
Slovakia offered little in attack but did have an excellent opportunity to draw level when Juraj Kucka tested Manuel Neuer with a towering header, but the Bayern Munich stopper expertly tipped the effort over the bar.
It proved a key moment in the match as Germany made their opponents pay minutes later. The impressive Draxler skipped past Kucka to reach the byline and pull back for Gomez, who made no mistake to finish past Kozacik.
It was one of 15 German shots in the first half - the most of any team at the tournament so far - and while Slovakia improved after half-time, slack marking from a corner allowed Draxler the space to hook home from four yards, all but sealing Germany's progress.
The commanding lead allowed Low to shuffle his pack in the latter stages, with Boateng, Draxler and Sami Khedira all replaced with next Saturday's quarter-final in mind.
They had a late opportunity to add further gloss to the scoreline but Toni Kroos could only shoot straight at Kozacik after a neat cross by Thomas Muller found the Real Madrid midfielder on the penalty spot.