Northern Ireland vs Germany (Tactical Report)

Germany used the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 with Gomez up top, ahead of Muller, Gotze and Ozil, and it worked its charm as Die Mannschaft dominated from the word go.

Germany topped the group after its 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland but it wasted numerous chances to score and finally make its mark in the tournament. After uninspiring performances in the first two games – a 2-0 win over Ukraine and a goalless draw against Poland – Germany was tipped to unleash its all against unfancied Northern Ireland.

Germany used the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 with Gomez up top, ahead of Muller, Gotze and Ozil, and it worked its charm as Die Mannschaft dominated from the word go.

Muller, who has surprisingly failed to net this Euro, went closest first when he flung his head to a cross from Kimmich, the resulting contact cannoning off the woodwork. Although it was ruled for offside, Muller and Germany were sniffing blood.

And Ozil was pulling the strings, dictating play and supplying Muller and Gomez with quality service. The deadlock was broken in the 29 th minute when Ozil sent in another delicious pass to Gomez, who flicked it to Muller sending him through on goal. He ran out of space to shoot, forcing him to pull the ball back to Gomez, who slotted into the gaping net for his first international goal since the last European Championship.

Northern Ireland ensured there would be no more goals to the tally with its resolute defending and heroics from goalkeeper Michael McGovern. Lining up in a 4-5-1, the intent was clear from the Irishmen.

Keeper McGovern’s multiple saves ensured a healthy goal difference as Northern Ireland, despite finishing third in the table with three points, is through to the next round as one of four best third-placed teams owing to a better record than Albania and Turkey.



Pass masters



It could have been a different story had Germany finished off its chances though. Mesut Ozil was in sublime form, completing 98.5% of his passes. He misplaced just one of his 68 passes. Toni Kroos was instrumental in the base of midfield, completing 121 passes throughout the game. To put this into context, Northern Ireland managed only 110 passes.

Unsparingly, Germany kept the majority of the possession (79%-21%) and took 26 pops at goal, with nine hitting the target. Despite the one-sided stats, Germany will be less than satisfied at not hitting the heights yet and its opponents are only going to get tougher.