Northern Ireland 0-1 Germany: Mario Gomez nets winner in Paris
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 22/06/16 11:42am
Northern Ireland secured qualification for the last 16 of Euro 2016 despite losing 1-0 to Germany in Paris.
The world champions, who finished top of Group C, created ample chances against third-place finishers Northern Ireland but only took one of them through Mario Gomez as they found goalkeeper Michael McGovern in inspired form.
Michael O'Neill's team finish with three points and are guaranteed to be one of the four best third-placed sides after Turkey's 2-0 win over Czech Republic in Group D.
Northern Ireland, Turkey and Albania all finished third in their group with three points, but O'Neill's side's goal difference is superior to the other two teams.
Meanwhile, Germany will face a third-placed team from Group A, B or F in the last 16.
Germany set up camp in the Northern Irish half from the first whistle and barely left it for the following 90 minutes.
Conor Washington was cut adrift in attack for O'Neill's men, who kept the same team that historically beat Ukraine 2-0 last Thursday.
McGovern was quickly to the forefront of the action. He was quick off his line to deny Thomas Muller on nine minutes before blocking further attempts from Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil.
Muller headed against the post on 28 minutes but McGovern's defence was breached two minutes later.
Ozil, who was working his magic in midfield, released Muller in on goal and he teed up Gomez to fire home via a Gareth McAuley deflection.
Jamie Ward registered Northern Ireland's only shot on target in the game just before half-time - a speculative 30-yard strike that was straight at Manuel Neuer.
Gotze was again thwarted by a strong McGovern right hand just after the break.
With Northern Ireland posing little threat at the other end, Germany took their foot off the gas in the closing stages but did nearly double the lead through Gomez, whose header was clawed away by McGovern.
The soon-to-be out-of-contract Hamilton goalkeeper did his chances of finding a new club no harm with this performance as the Green and White Army's amazing adventure rolls on to the knockout stages.