Poland, 16 June 2016 >

GERMANY 2 - 0 UKRAINE

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille
World Cup 2014, Group C

"We dominated - it wasn't easy against a good Ukrainian defence but we found solutions and overall I'm very satisfied."

Goalscorers:
Shkodran Mustafi 19', Bastian Schweinsteiger 90'+2

Germany start their Euro 2016 campaign with a win, as Joachim Löw is in charge at a European Championships for a record twelfth time.

Germany up-and-running with Ukraine win - from UEFA.comBastian Schweinsteiger scores on return as Germany edge past Ukraine

Germany's Schweinsteiger and Mustafi sink Ukraine in Euro 2016 opener

Joachim Löw satisfied as Germany start Euro 2016 with victory

Low told Uefa.com: "It was an intense and fast-paced game. In the first half we had a few problems going forward, losing the ball and giving them the chance to counter but in the second half we did very well, keeping our shape and moving the ball about well. "
"Ukraine were very good from set pieces - they really whipped them into the box and put men forward. We defended better in the second half and Bastian Schweinsteiger was delighted to make such a great comeback after so many weeks slogging to get back to fitness.
Löw lauds Schweinsteiger return
"We ran a lot in the first half but we seemed to have some problems in the transition, we lost a lot of balls," he said.
"We improved that in the second half, passed the ball quickly and dominated the game. But it was not easy against a strong defence and dangerous counter-attacks. But we found a solution in the second half and that's why I'm quite satisfied.
"I was not surprised by Ukraine, because I've seen them over the last two years. It's a better squad than in 2012. They're very strong physically and in the air, and very fast on the wings. They can be dangerous to any opposition.
"[Mats] Hummels and [Antonio] Rudiger were injured so we had to change our defence, but I thought they got stronger during the game, we were more compact and could press against the strikers.
Mustafi and Schweinsteiger lead Löw's men to victory - with links to live ticker

Shell-shocked Ukraine have no answers to German 'machine'

Löw: "Gut, einen Jerome als Nachbarn in der Abwehr zu haben"
German national team make fools of far-right populists
German coach Joachim Löw couldn't resist a dig at the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party after the national team won their opening Euro 2016 game against Ukraine.
"It's good when you have a neighbour like Jerome Boateng in defence," Löw said directly after the game of the Berlin-born defender, whose father is Ghanaian.
The Germany coach was having a none-too-subtle dig at Alexander Gauland, deputy leader of the far-right AfD, who said recently that most Germans wouldn't want Boateng as their neighbour.

Löw: "It wasn't part of the plan for Schweinsteiger to appear so far up the pitch"

It wasn't part of the plan, for Schweinsteiger to appear so far up the pitch. But I am delighted that after all his hard work over the past few weeks, he was able to make such a comeback and score the decisive second goal. That will really give him and the rest of the team a lift. He is so important because of his personality and his experience, and he can really provide a team with a lot. A Bastian Schweinsteiger is worth its weight in gold.
On the defence: "It got a bit dangerous for us at times, but overall we dealt with everything quite well. In the first half we had a couple of problems going forward, we lost the ball a few times and were susceptible to being hit on the break. The wingers improved as the game went on, and Mustafi and Boateng won a lot of challenges.

In his post-match interview, Jogi also explained his choice on the day of Manuel Neuer as captain, and not Sami Khedira "Manuel Neuer is the World Goalkeeper of the Year. I had a conversation with both players. Both are leaders on the pitch. I could have also picked Sami, because he fulfils the criteria just as much. For me, that doesn't play a very decisive role."

Löw knackt zwei EM-Rekorde
Records broken by Jogi today include the most number of games on the bench by a coach at a European Championships, and being the only coach to appear at three tournaments. He also moved second in the list of most games won as German coach, to 88, behind Sepp Herberger.

Joachim Löw's record in tournament openers now reads 5 matches, 5 wins, 13 goals scored, 0 conceded.

Some post-match analysis:
Germany were unconvincing against Ukraine, so can they win Euro 2016?
The warnings Germany sent to Joachim Löw against Ukraine

Toni Kroos runs the show - player ratings from The Independent
Analysis and player ratings from schwarzundweiss.co.uk
A Shkodran Mustafi special gets the Germans off the mark - spotlight on the first ,.goalscorer

Post-match interview on ARD

Joachim Löw's choice of attire stole the show during Germany's Euro 2016 opener
But possibly the biggest surprise of the night went to Jogi keeping cool by sporting a grey t-shirt, rather than the usual expected shirt! Social media, of course, went overboard with talk of his latest attire, with one noting a likeness to Patrick Swayze!

Dass Jogi Löw beim Spiel ein T-Shirt trug, war nicht geplant - Hugo Boss, it would appear, now objecting to what Jogi wore on Sunday night.


In the 48 hours following the Ukraine match, the football was 'overshadowed' by what has became known as #hosengate #die80prozent and seemingly a dozen other hashtags when footage was revealed of Jogi doing, urm, what men do (Lukas Podolski's 80% being an underestimate in my informed opinion).

My own personal stance has changed constantly over those 48 hours - from amusement when the picture first appeared on my timeline, to annoyance (can I find a match report, please!), to boredom (good opportunity to unfollow a few idiots), to showing my support (but then I always do that), and back to mild amusement at the hypocrisy of the German press in berating the 'humiliation' of Jogi, when they, themselves, had been the culprits on so many occasions.

Why I will always be proud to have shaken Joachim Löw's hand..
- my say on that footage

TV-Bilder Löw-Aufnahmen: DFB stellt Anfrage bei der UEFA - one of the more informative media articles on it all


Starting line-up:
Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Höwedes, Jerome Boateng, Shkodran Mustafi, Jonas Hector, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler (Andre Schürrle), Mario Götze (Bastian Schweinsteiger)

Löw vor #GERUKR: Fortschritt erkennbar -an interview on UEFA.com

Die Bilanz von Joachim Löw bei Auftaktspielen ist makellos - Eurosport.de reminds us that Jogi has a 'flawless' record in tournament opening games.

Bundestrainer Löw vor dem EM-Auftakt: Coach Cool - from spiegel.de, referring to an interview with Jogi on their digital service.

Has Löw cracked Spain's secret? Germany aim for World and European Double - preview from goal.com

Jogi Löw verrät "So ticke ich wirklich" - an interview on express.de

Training, Lille, 11 June 2016


Training in Lille - from national team's Facebook page

UEFA Press Conference, Lille, 11 June 2016

Joachim Löw will announce tomorrow who is the captain for the Ukraine game, "I will inform the team on Sunday who our captain will be. Bastian Schweinsteiger remains our real captain though, since I know that he will make an appearance during the tournament."

Löw 'ridiculously excited' for Euro 2016 opener
World champions Germany get their Euro 2016 campaign under way against Ukraine on Sunday, and Joachim Low is looking forward to kick-off.
Joachim Low cannot wait for Germany's Euro 2016 opener against Ukraine and is confident that his side can cope with the pressure of being one of the favourites to win the tournament.
World champions Germany begin their quest to add European Championship glory to their triumph in Brazil two years ago when they take on Mikhail Fomenko's team in Lille on Sunday.
Low's men are widely fancied to repeat a feat achieved by France at the turn of the century and Spain in 2010 by holding both the world and European crowns simultaneously, and the head coach was in relaxed mood when he spoke to the media on Saturday.
"I'm ridiculously excited for it to get started," he said. "The expectations are high, but we're more than capable of dealing with that."
Centre-back Mats Hummels missed both of Germany's warm-up friendlies against Slovakia and Hungary due to a calf problem, but Low indicated that the Bayern Munich man may be fit enough to start against Ukraine.
Low was also keen to point out that Fomenko's side will provide a tough test due to their ability on the break.
"Mats is training with the team again," he added."Ukraine are a dynamic side. They are very, very dangerous on the counter."

Joachim Löw and Germany confident of creating dynasty despite defensive issues
"We have had to change the defence throughout the camp and this does not allow great harmony, when they do not play together at their clubs," Löw says. "But we'll succeed in letting them know what their tasks are."
Löw was upbeat, talking about how he now had greater tactical flexibility when compared to the World Cup, in terms of being able to switch to three at the back, and he did not look like a man with the weight of a grand footballing nation on his shoulders. "Germany always suffers from pressure," he says. "It's not an issue. Not at all. We can cope."

Low is confident Germany can hit the ground running

"If we play to our strengths we'll have a good game and a strong start to the tournament," Low said. "But we cannot rely solely upon our playing skills against sides such as Ukraine. That would be a big mistake."
Mesut Ozil will benefit from best season with Arsenal at Euro 2016, according to Germany manager Joachim Löw
"Ozil is in outstanding physical condition," said Löw. "In 2014 he had a couple of difficulties from physical point of view. Now he is in a very different condition. He has outstanding capabilities and his technical capabilities are of great value. I'm not considering leaving him out for a single second."
Some more quotes from Jogi, with thanks to UEFA.com:
"Mats Hummels is at 100 percent, he is training with the team, but tomorrow's game is surely a bit too early for him. But we can plan with him for next week.""This week, we have talked a lot about Ukraine. They are very physical and have quick players on the wings, who are very dangerous when it comes to counter-attacks. If we do what we are capable of and are careful in possession, then we are capable of beating Ukraine."
"Until 2014, we have basically always played in the same formation and with the same system. But in the past two years, we have developed further. We can now start with a back-three or with just two central defenders, or we can switch during a game. That's very important."

When asked whether he is likely to go for a three of four man defence, he replied "I don't want to reveal any information to our opponents beforehand. Sometimes there are surprises in certain positions. You shouldn't attach too much importance to whether we play with three of four at the back. That can change throughout the game. It's important to stay versatile."

Löw: Sind heiß darauf, dass es losgeht - Jogi speaks to ZDF

Vor Ukraine-Spiel: Anreise nach Lille - from tv.dfb.de

Germany hopeful over Mats Hummels fitness for Euro 2016 opener - 10 June 2016

In his first press ahead upon arrival at their Evian base camp, 8 June 2016, Joachim Löw spoke of various personnel issues ahead of the Ukraine game. He said he will advise the players as to who will captain the side on Sunday and then the name will be announced. As far as a replacement for Antonio Rüdiger who torn his ACL on the first day of training at Evian-les-Bains, he said that Shkodran Mustafi has some experience and another possibility is to move Benedikt Höwedes to the centre. "I have faith in both of them." Jonathan Tah, who was called up to replace Rüdiger, will be match fit in a few days.
Ahead of the Ukraine match, Jogi said over the course of the next few days, there will be one or two sessions on tactics for facing our first opponents. He said it is important that the team gains the necessary freshness. They have trained twice daily in last week and this was noticeable in the game against Hungary.

Poland, 16 June 2016 >

Last updated 23 June 2016
With thanks to everyone on the Group for their help and support, especially Lucille, Sarah, Silke, Susanne, Nic, Taylor and Chere.
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