Germany vs Ukraine player ratings: Toni Kroos runs the show as world champions get off to winning start

Man-for-man marking from the Group C Euro 2016 fixture at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy

Toni Kroos applauds the Germany fans in Lille after the 2-0 victory over Ukraine
Toni Kroos applauds the Germany fans in Lille after the 2-0 victory over Ukraine

Germany made a winning start to their campaign to add the European Championship to their 2014 World Cup triumph after beating Ukraine 2-0 in a comfortable victory, sending the world champions top of Group C.

The Germans took the lead through defender Shkodran Mustafi's header, with the Valencia right-back leaping above Serhiy Sydorchuk to head a Toni Kroos free-kick beyond the outstretched hand of Andriy Pyatov. However, there was much debate regarding the opening goal, given that the decision to penalise Yaroslav Rakitskiy for a foul on Thomas Muller looked to be a harsh one.

Ukraine faded in the second half though, and despite having the better of the game, Germany struggled to convert their dominance into goals. Mario Gotze played in a false-nine position, but he was clearly finding the going difficult against the much bigger Ukrainian defenders.

As the minutes ticked down, Ukraine surged forwards in search of an equaliser, only to concede in the final minute. Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, having just come off the substitutes’ bench to replace Gotze, surged forward to strike Mesut Ozil’s cross home on the half-volley and seal the victory that takes Germany above Poland on goal difference.

So who starred for Germany as they made a winning start to Euro 2016? Here’s our player ratings from the Group C encounter.

Germany

Manuel Neuer: Stated his case as the world's best, making some fine reflex saves to claim a clean sheet. 8/10

Benedikt Howedes: Slotted into the troublesome right-back spot well, and contributed to a fine team performance. 7/10

Jerome Boateng: Dominant in defence, he produced an incredible goalline clearance to keep out what would have been an own-goal. 8/10

Shkodran Mustafi: The only member of the squad never to have played domestically in Germany, but contributed here with a superb opening goal. 7/10

Shkodran Mustafi heads in the opening goal for Germany

Jonas Hector: The Cologne left-back was steady in defence, but too often fluffed his lines when in attacking positions. 6/10

Sami Khedira: Missed a good chance to net in the first half, but the Juventus man admirably complemented Kroos in midfield. 7/10

Toni Kroos: A brilliant performance. The Real Madrid midfielder dictated play all over the pitch, passed perfectly short and long, and was a constant goal threat. 9/10

Thomas Muller: Fielded on the right, the talismanic German did not perform to his high standard. 6/10

Mesut Ozil: Disappeared at times and too often failed to shoot when well placed, he yet again proved his worth with a wonderful pass to Schweinsteiger in injury time. 7/10

Julian Draxler: Always looked to attack whether on the left flank, or when moving infield and into the box. 7/10

Mario Gotze: Not the same player as the one who won the World Cup two years ago, he struggled to impact the game in the false nine role. 5/10

Bastian Schweinsteiger: On the pitch for just three minutes, the veteran killed the game off with a sumptuous half-volley. 7/10

Schweinsteiger scored just minutes after coming on for Mario Gotze

Ukraine

Andriy Pyatov: Saved well from Khedira and Muller, and had little chance with the two German goals. 6/10

Artem Fedetskiy: A solid defender who never shirked a challenge. 6/10

Artem Fedetskiy appears dejected after Ukraine concede a second goal

Yevhen Khacheridi: Denied an equaliser when Neuer saved his header, but made more of an impact in Germany's box than his own. 5/10

Yaroslav Rakitskiy: Another who enjoyed a tackle, his positional awareness was his downfall. 5/10

Vyacheslav Shevchuk: The veteran defender utilised all of his experience to deal with Muller. 6/10

Serhiy Sydorchuk: Impressed in flashes, but could do little to lift his side as Germany dominated. 6/10

Taras Stepanenko: Never at the races as Germany dictated play in midfield throughout. 4/10

Andriy Yarmolenko reacts after missing a shot at goal

Andriy Yarmolenko: The most likely of the Ukraine side to make something positive happen, but he faded with his team in the second half. 7/10

Viktor Kovalenko: The youngster is one of Ukraine's great attacking hopes, but he spent much of this contest chasing Kroos' shadow. 5/10

Yevhen Konoplyanka: Moved into some good positions, but his finishing was too often off target. 5/10

Roman Zozulya: Worked hard on his own up front, but had little chance to test the German defence. 6/10

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