Germany beat Northern Ireland 1-0 but both advance
If there can be a 1-0 rout in football, then this was it. Germany missed a series of clear chances during their narrow win over Northern Ireland yesterday.
Still, the victory ensured the 2014 World Cup winners topped Group C and advanced to the knockout stages of the European Championship.
Northern Ireland need not care they lost. Three hours later, their place in the round of 16 was confirmed by Turkey's 2-0 win against the Czech Republic in Group D.
That ensured Northern Ireland watched in the stands by former No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy will be among the four best third-place teams to advance.
"What we have done over the three games, we have deserved that chance," Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill said after his team's one-sided loss.
Germany pounded Northern Ireland, particularly during a frantic passage of play in the first half, but was consistently denied by the woodwork and standout goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
"It was the game of their lives against the world champions," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "We could have had 3-0 or 4-0 at half-time."
Only Mario Gomez's 30th-minute goal separated the teams at the end. Gomez's sidefooted goal from around eight metres owed much to Thomas Mueller, whose run across the penalty area drew the goalkeeper and two defenders out of position.
Germany won Group C with seven points and will now meet a third-place team in the next round in Lille.