Germany win Ukraine opener, Poland top N. Ireland, Croatia beat Turkey

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Germany opened their Euro 2016 campaign with a nervy 2-0 victory over Ukraine.
ESPN FC’s Michael Ballack discusses Germany’s strengths and weaknesses following their 2-0 victory over Ukraine.

Defending World Cup champions Germany started their Euro 2016 campaign off in good form, beating Ukraine 2-0 in their Group C opener.

The Germans struck first just before the 20-minute mark, with Shkodran Mustafi heading his team in front from a set-piece delivery from Toni Kroos.

Sami Khedira should have doubled Germany’s lead in the 29th minute after settling a pinpoint pass over the top of the Ukraine defence in the penalty area only to fire his well-struck half-volley right at goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

Ukraine’s best attempt of the first half was swept off the line by Jerome Boateng after an excellent team move allowed Yevhen Konoplyanka a close-range strike that the Bayern Munich defender cleared just before it went into the goal.

The entertaining back-and-forth match continued throughout the second half, with Germany dominating possession and completing over 90 percent of their passes throughout the second 45 minutes.

Substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger gave Germany an insurance goal from a counter-attack in injury time, as Mesut Ozil found the Manchester United man at the far post and he calmly volleyed home for the 2-0 final.

Luka Modric’s stunning volley was enough for Croatia to defeat Turkey 1-0 in their Euro 2016 opener.
ESPN FC’s Mike Tirico, Taylor Twellman and Vincent Kompany recap Croatia’s 1-0 win over Turkey.
Following his game-winning Euro performance, Croatia’s Luka Modric is most happy about his team’s overall performance.

Croatia opened their Euro 2016 campaign with a 1-0 win over Turkey thanks to Luka Modric’s brilliant first-half volley in Paris.

In the Group D encounter, Turkey had a fantastic chance to go in front in the 29th minute when Ozan Tufan met Gokhan Gonul’s cross only to head straight at goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

Croatia took the lead in style on 41 minutes when Modric unleashed a superb volley from outside the area which bounced just in front of goalkeeper Volkan Babacan and nestled home.

Darijo Srna came close to doubling the Croatians’ advantage early in the second half when he bent a free kick over the wall but it clipped the crossbar and went over.

Srna then missed a golden opportunity to make it 2-0, dragging his shot wide, before Ivan Perisic saw a header hit the woodwork.

Arkadiusz Milik’s second half goal was the difference as Poland earned their first ever win at the European Championship.
ESPN FC’s Craig Burley and Santiago Solari discuss Northern Ireland’s defensive tactics in their loss to Poland.

Poland began their Euro 2016 campaign in Group C with a deserved 1-0 win over Northern Ireland in Nice on Sunday.

Arkadiusz Milik opened the scoring for Poland against Michael O’Neill’s side, who are competing at their first major finals since the 1986 World Cup.

In a first half that saw Poland dominate the ball, Milik spurned a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on 31 minutes after he blazed over following Lukasz Piszczek’s cross.

Just before the break, a thunderous effort from Bartosz Kapustka drew a fine save from goalkeeper Michael McGovern to ensure the two sides went into half-time at 0-0.

Milik broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute, receiving Jakub Blaszczykowski’s pass before driving a shot low past McGovern.

On 72 minutes, Conor Washington broke clear for Northern Ireland but he was denied by some brave goalkeeping from Wojciech Szczesny.

With five minutes left on the clock, Northern Ireland worked a smart set piece but a stretching Steven Davis was unable to get on the end of the pass.

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