Jerome Boateng scored his first international goal to set Germany on their way to a 3-0 win against Slovakia at Euro 2016 in Lille on Sunday as the world champions cruised into the quarterfinals.
Boateng opened his account eight minutes into his 63rd international appearance and Joachim Loew’s side never looked back against outclassed opponents.
Mesut Ozil had a penalty saved soon after but Julian Draxler set up Mario Gomez to double the lead two minutes before half-time and the impressive Draxler then completed the scoring just after the hour mark.
There was never any threat of a repeat of Slovakia’s 3-1 win when the teams met in a friendly just four weeks ago and Germany move on to a last-eight tie against either reigning champions Spain or old rivals Italy next weekend.
“I hit the ball well and am glad it went in. It was also about time,” defender Boateng told ZDF of his goal as he admitted that Germany never gave Slovakia a look in.
“We wanted to make sure at all costs that they didn’t get into the game, pressed us or put pressure on us out wide.”
Loew had been unhappy with his team’s finishing during the group stage and he opted to drop the under-performing Mario Goetze as Draxler, of Wolfsburg, started in the only change from their 1-0 win against Northern Ireland.
Slovakia have a recent history of pulling off surprise results, from their defeat of Spain in qualifying to the recent friendly victory in Germany and the goalless draw with England that saw them progress from the group stage.
But their hopes of another day to remember were rapidly nipped in the bud by the world champions, who underlined their credentials and sent a clear message to their Euro rivals.
Sami Khedira was first to threaten with a header from a Toni Kroos free-kick that was tipped over by Slovakian ‘keeper Matus Kozacik, and from the corner that followed Germany were in front.
Kroos’s delivery from the German left was headed out by Milan Skriniar but the ball fell for Boateng on the edge of the box and the Bayern Munich stopper met it on the volley, finding the bottom-left corner with the aid of a small deflection off the unfortunate Skriniar.
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