Mesut Ozil started for Germany as they got their Euros off to the best possible start with a win over Ukraine in Lille and grabbed a late assist despite being quiet for most of the game.
Mustafi got the scoring underway with just 19 minutes on the clock with a bullet header, a goal that Germany’s dominance deserved. Toni Kroos grabbed the assist.
With questions hanging over Joachim Low’s side given their recent form, the Germans looked sharp and focused, playing great possession football against a Ukraine side that gave them the space to move the ball around as they wished.
Despite all of that, Ukraine almost pulled themselves level after the half hour mark with only the most unbelievable of goal line clearances from Jerome Boateng keeping the lead, inexplicably, in the hands of the World Champions. Just moments later Ukraine did have the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out for offside.
This unsettled Germany as Ukraine finally woke up but Low’s side held their lead until halftime after 45 minutes in which Mesut Ozil was hardly mentioned.
Ozil dummied the entire Ukraine team pic.twitter.com/pa1VWgnqPj
— Assist Wizard (@ArsenalsCannon) June 12, 2016
That being said, he wasn’t doing too badly when he actually did have the ball:
— UEFA Nations League (@UEFAEURO) June 12, 2016
Ozil was much more involved at the start of the second half but still seemed out of synch with what going on around him, the result, perhaps, of a tough season with Arsenal and the effect of the Premier League on players. Certainly, Toni Kroos was outshining him by a distance. But he was doing that to most people on the pitch, to be fair.
A familiar pattern settled over the game as Germany dominated and Ukraine, again, offered little, at times playing with what looked like a back eight that the Germans were struggling to break down. Mesut drifted in and out of the game.
He was presented with one great chance with just three minutes remaining, but as he raced through the pressure from the Ukraine defenders either side of him ensured his shot went straight at the keeper.
In the end, it was all very comfortable for one of the tournament favourites, with Bastian Schweinsteiger managing to grab a second in injury time not long after coming on as a sub. The assist? Mesut Ozil of course. Never, ever write him off.
— fplbet (@fplbet) June 12, 2016
Germany will, however, need to find ways to up their creative output if they dream of winning in Paris on the final day.
Poland won’t give them quite as much respect as Ukraine did on Sunday.