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Published: 21:43 | 12/6/16

Germany overcome Ukraine challenge

Mustafi and Schweinsteiger on target for world champions

Germany opened their Group C endeavours at the European Championship with a 2-0 victory over Ukraine.

The underdogs threatened on occasion in attack but the Germans dominated long periods of the clash.

Shkodran Mustafi headed the world champions into a first-half lead, with substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger’s close-range finish sealing the triumph late on.

Joachim Low’s men move to top of the group, ahead of Poland on goal difference, following the latter’s 1-0 win over Northern Ireland earlier on Sunday.

Germany had the better of the opening exchanges at Stade Pierre-Mauroy before Mustafi’s powerful header from a whipped Toni Kroos free-kick broke the deadlock.

Sami Khedira was denied Germany's second by a fine Andriy Pyatov stop.

Ukraine, however, also offered plenty of threat in the first period, with Manuel Neuer doing well to keep out a Yevhen Khacheridi header and Jerome Boateng clearing an Andriy Yarmolenko attempt off the goal-line, before the underdogs had the ball in the net but only after an offside flag.

Kroos found the woodwork with a long-range drive early in the second half, as the Germans commenced a spell of almost completed dominance.

Subsequent opportunities for Julian Draxler and his replacement, Ande Schurrle, went untaken.

With Ukraine pushing bodies forward, Mesut Ozil had an effort smothered superbly by Pyatov.

A misunderstanding between Mustafi and Neuer provided the Germans with a significant fright but with time running out, Ozil took full advantage of oceans of space to deliver a superbly accurate cross for Schweinsteiger, who finished to the roof of the net from six yards.

Germany, among the favourites for tournament glory, march on to a meeting with Poland at Stade de France on Thursday night, following Ukraine's encounter with Northern Ireland in Lyon.

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