World champions Germany face Slovakia in the round of 16 knockout clash in Lille on Sunday.
Germany eased through to the last 16 as the winner of group C beating Northern Ireland and Ukraine and drawing with Poland. They’ve kept clean sheets in all their games but at the same time have found goals hard to come by, with the Germans finding the net only three times so far.
The most frustrating thing about Germany is Joachim Low’s side are creating loads of chances but their forwards haven’t been able to convert them. For instance, against Northern Ireland, they had 26 attempts on goal and yet finished the match with a 1-0 scoreline.
It is one department where they must raise their game as the Germans may face either Italy or Spain in the quarterfinal, should they win against Slovakia. Although Germany should start as massive favourites, but they must be wary of Slovakia, who defeated Low’s side 3-1 in Augsburg in a friendly some four weeks ago.
Low must take a big decision on Sunday – whether to stick with Mario Gomez, who scored the winner against Northern Ireland or restore Mario Gotze in the ‘false nine’ role.
Arsenal forward Mesut Ozil is often looked up to as the player who will create chances for others but in Euro 2016, Toni Kroos has replaced him as the team’s primary playmaker. Kroos, a reported Manchester United target, who would cost more than £95m as per his brother, will once again hold the key for his country.
Not only he is an expert in ball circulation but Kroos has been creating chances and getting into good shooting areas. Kroos has a metronomic presence in the midfield and he is central behind almost every Germany’s attacking move. Against Poland, he had an enviable 92.6% passing accuracy, more than any other German player and also created three chances and had three shots in the match.
While Kroos is known for his ball retention, Ozil is capable of making defence-splitting passes but none of the forwards – Muller, Draxler,Gotze – have made enough penetrative runs to make the best use of his passing abilities.
It’s time, they learn from their past mistakes.