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Rediff.com  » Sports » Euro: How toothless Germany were checked by plucky Poland

Euro: How toothless Germany were checked by plucky Poland

June 17, 2016 10:06 IST

Poland's Arkadiusz Milik and Germany's Mats Hummels compete for the ball during their Euro 2016 Group C match at Stade de France in Paris on Thursday

IMAGE: Poland's Arkadiusz Milik and Germany's Mats Hummels compete for the ball during their Euro 2016 Group C match at Stade de France in Paris on Thursday. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Germany bolstered their back line with the return of central defender Mats Hummels on Thursday but lacked penetration at the other end of the field as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Poland at Euro 2016.

Poland coach on why a 0-0 draw with Germany was a 'fair result'

The world champions failed to pierce a disciplined Poland rearguard, seeing most of their attacks break down on the edge of the penalty box.

Coach Joachim Loew turned to Hummels, back after sustaining a thigh muscle injury last month, to stabilise the defence after a shaky first half against Ukraine in their opening Group C win last week.

Poland's Robert Lewandowski (centre) and Germany's Jonas Hector (right) vie for possession

IMAGE: Poland's Robert Lewandowski (centre) and Germany's Jonas Hector (right) vie for possession. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Hummels, taking the place of Shkodran Mustafi, delivered a solid performance, renewing his 2014 World Cup-winning partnership with Jerome Boateng and giving Poland little space up front.

With Benedikt Hoewedes and Jonas Hector as full backs, Germany also managed to avoid being caught on the break by the speedy Kamil Griscki and captain Robert Lewandowski.

Loew had warned of counter attacks led by Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik but the pair were restricted in terms of scoring chances.

Germany's Mario Goetze wins the ball as he is challenged by Poland's Michal Pazdan

IMAGE: Germany's Mario Goetze (right) is challenged by Poland's Michal Pazdan. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

While Germany's defensive operation will no doubt boost confidence going into their final group game against Northern Ireland next week, they struggled in attack with neither Mario Goetze nor Mario Gomez able to land a knockout blow.

Goetze received a second consecutive start despite a below-par performance in the opening game and again failed to deliver, the attacking midfielder never settling in the role of striker.

He and Julian Draxler were kept quiet by Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek and the rest of Poland's hard-working defenders.

Germany's Toni Kroos (right) battles for the ball with Poland's Kamil Glik

IMAGE: Germany's Toni Kroos (right) battles for the ball with Poland's Kamil Glik. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Goetze, who grabbed the winner in the 2014 World Cup final, may now make way for Andre Schuerrle against the Irish.

"We could not get chances in the last third of the pitch," said Loew.

"We could not combine and play our football. I must say that both teams defended really well."

Loew brought on substitute Gomez, his only out-and-out striker, in the 72nd minute but the Turkish league's top scorer could make little headway.

- Euro 2016 Coverage 

Euro 2016 Schedule

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