Mario Gomez’s goal wrapped up top spot for Germany in Group C as a 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes left Northern Ireland waiting to find out their own fate at Euro 2016.
Having failed to impress in a bore draw against Poland last time out, Joachim Low’s side again struggled to hit top gear despite dominating against one of the tournament’s biggest underdogs in Paris.
Michael O’Neill’s plan to stifle the world champions always looked likely to fail, with goalkeeper Michael McGovern – who was impressive throughout – called into action several times before his defences were breached.
Gomez marked his first start in France with a close-range 29th-minute finish, while Thomas Muller hit the post and crossbar among a host of other Germany chances before the interval.
Though Northern Ireland now needed a goal to claim the point they clearly came for, it proved close to impossible for them to relieve the constant pressure.
Germany could not add to their advantage in a second half that was as one-sided as the first, but Northern Ireland will now await other results to see if their three-point return is enough to qualify as one of the four best third-placed finishers.
Substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski struck the decisive blow in Marseille as Poland bounced back from their goalless draw with Germany to beat Ukraine 1-0 on Tuesday.
It took the Borussia Dortmund midfielder – who spent last season on loan at Fiorentina – nine minutes to open the scoring after his introduction in Poland’s final game of Group C at Euro 2016, netting with a fierce strike that flew into the top-left corner.
Blaszczykowski’s goal lifted the pressure on Adam Nawalka’s side after a tough first half that saw Ukraine enjoy the better openings.
They failed to convert any of them, though, as Mikhail Fomenko’s men finished the tournament with three defeats and without finding the back of the net.
Poland progress to the knock-out rounds of a European Championship for the first time and will meet Switzerland on June 25 in Saint-Etienne, where they will hope to see Robert Lewandowski end his worrying goal drought.