Germany drew 0-0 with Poland in Paris to leave Euro 2016’s Group C finely balanced.
Their stalemate – despite significant quality at both ends of the pitch – leaves both teams level on four points at the top of the group. Germany lead second-placed Poland because their goal difference is superior by one.
Northern Ireland earlier on Thursday unexpectedly defeated Ukraine 2-0 to earn three points, meaning both Germany and Poland remain at risk of elimination when they next play on Tuesday. Germany face Northern Ireland, while Poland meet Ukraine.
World champions Germany struggled to build momentum, following their 2-0 defeat of Ukraine in the opening match of their tournament, and perhaps because of their unwillingness to take risks.
Manager Joachim Low’s decision to start without a recognised striker also often left them without a focal point, even if their build-up play occasionally impressed.
As against Ukraine, they enjoyed significant spells of possession without consistently threatening, Excellent defending from Jerome Boateng denied Robert Lewandowski the goalscoring chances he needed, while Poland’s Grzegorz Krychowiak contributed much to contain Germany.
Striker Arkadiusz Milik, the scorer of Poland’s only goal in their 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland, wasted perhaps the game’s two finest opportunities, missing both in the second half when he was well placed to finish. The first he somehow headed wide despite both having time and space from directly in front of goal, and the second came when he failed to cleanly strike the ball despite being well placed.
Mesut Ozil impressively tested Poland’s Lukasz Fabianski with a 69th-minute curling, first-time left-footed effort from just inside the area, but the goalkeeper produced an athletic dive to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Midway through the second half Low sacrificed Julian Draxler and Mario Gotze for the more direct options provided by Mario Gomez and Andre Schurrle in his pursuit of victory.
Germany responded by increasing the pressure, but there was to be no late goal like that provided by Bastian Schweinsteiger against Ukraine.
Deep into stoppage time, Fabianski punched clear one final ball into the box that was typical of Germany’s limited offensive ideas.
Poland, however, may be the more disappointed of the two teams, having created the clearest chances.