Germany began to click into top gear as they thrashed Slovakia 3-0 in Lille to book a quarter-final with one of their
ghosts of Euros past, Spain or Italy.
After being held to a frustrating single-goal victory in their final pool game by a staunch Northern Ireland defence,
Germany tore into Group B’s third-placed team to assert their standing among the favourites for the trophy.
Joachim Low gambled on Jerome Boateng’s fitness and the Bayern Munich man rewarded him with a first international goal
to put Germany into an early lead.
Mesut Ozil had a penalty saved shortly afterwards, but Low’s other team selection of note, replacing Mario Gotze with
Julian Draxler, also paid dividends when the Wolfsburg man set up Mario Gomez for the second just before half-time.
Draxler was a constant menace on the left flank and got a deserved goal for himself in the second half, allowing Germany
to cruise to victory – and keep a fourth clean sheet from as many Euro 2016 games.
It is now either 2008 final opponents Spain, or semi-final vanquishers four years ago Italy, who await this German
generation, as they look for continental dominance just two years after conquering the world.