By Andy Hyslop
- Germany finish top of Group C
- Northern Ireland must wait to learn last sixteen fate
- McNair a unused substitute for Ireland
- Schweinsteiger starts on the bench
Germany beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in their final group to confirm themselves as winners of Group C. While Northern Ireland must wait to see if they join Germany and Poland in the last sixteen.
Before the final round of fixtures in Group C, Germany and Poland were level on four points apiece while Northern Ireland had three.
Germany’s 1-0 win over Ireland and Poland’s 1-0 win Ukraine mean that Germany qualify as group winners and Poland as runners-up.
For Northern Ireland and their fans, they will have to wait to see if they’ve done enough to qualify as one of four best third placed teams.
With three groups yet to be finalised, Northern Ireland currently have the second best record of the third placed teams to have played their three group games.
McGovern the hero for Northern Ireland
If it wasn’t for Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern. Germany would have won this game by more than the one goal.
McGovern made a string of fine saves, especially in the first-half as Germany looked to put the game to bed early.
McGovern has an impressive record in his short International career to date. He has never conceded more than one in any of his 14 appearances for Northern Ireland to date.
McGovern denied Thomas Muller on several occasions as the German forward went in search of his first goal in eight European Championship finals appearances.
The fact that Northern Ireland only lost this game by one goal may help them in their quest to reach the last sixteen. Should they finish level with another third placed team. A last sixteen place may come down to goal difference.
Schweinsteiger breaks German record
After injury ruined the second-half of Schweinsteiger’s first season with United, the German captain faced a race against time to be fit for the finals.
After a lack of football in 2016, Schweinsteiger has been restricted to two substitute appearances in his seventh major finals.
His appearance as a second-half substitute in this game means the midfielder has now made 15 appearances in the European Championships, after making his debut at Euro 2004.
He is now one ahead of former Bayern Munich team-mate Philipp Lahm, who retire from International football after captaining Germany to their World Cup triumph in 2014.