Germany v Slovakia - Tactical Report

Germany's performance was trademark Joachim Low. The 56-year-old is a coach who does not believe in rigid roles within the playing XI, and against Slovakia the movement of his attack gave the opposition defence and manager a puzzle they could not solve.

Germany enhanced its status as a favourite to win Euro 2016 when it over-powered Slovakia in Lille to set up a quarter-final against Italy or Spain.

Centre-back Jerome Boateng gave the world champion an eighth-minute lead with a superb 25-yard volley (see picture) before Mario Gomez poked in the second after some great work in the left flank by Julian Draxler. Draxler then made it 3-0 with a near-post volley soon after the half time break. Mesut Ozil also missed a penalty for Germany in the 14th minute.

Shape-shifting midfield

Germany's performance was trademark Joachim Low. The 56-year-old is a coach who does not believe in rigid roles within the playing XI, and against Slovakia the movement of his attack gave the opposition defence and manager a puzzle they could not solve.

The Germans started in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Draxler on the left, Ozil in middle and Thomas Muller on the right of the attack, almost in the role of a secondary striker behind Mario Gomez. But Draxler often interchanged with Ozil, and Muller spread himself across the edge of the opposition penalty box.

The movement, especially that of Draxler who was exceptional in the night, allowed Toni Kroos and Ozil the freedom to pick their passes to unlock the defence. During the attack the Germany almost followed an inverted Christmas tree formation with Draxler, Gomez and Muller making the top three, with Ozil and Kroos pulling the strings behind them. Sami Khedira played the role of the anchor.

Interestingly, Germany has kept four clean sheets at Euro 2016 - more than it has recorded in any other edition of the European Championships. The defensive line — consisting of Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Jonas Hector — has been rock-solid and will be crucial in the upcoming games if the Germans are to repeat their World Cup success in Europe.