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Result: Max Meyer, Serge Gnabry get Germany off to winning start

Goals from Max Meyer and Serge Gnabry ensure that Germany make a winning start to their Under-21 European Championship campaign with victory over Czech Republic.

Germany got their Under-21s European Championship campaign off to a winning start courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Czech Republic in Tychy this afternoon.

Max Meyer and former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry got the goals either side of half time as Germany avoided an upset in Poland, although they squandered the chance to make it even more convincing when Davie Selke saw a penalty saved.

Germany had a chance within five minutes when new Bayern Munich signing Gnabry bundled through a challenge inside the area to leave himself in a good shooting position, but he could only poke his finish wide of the far post.

Such goalscoring opportunities were by no means a regular feature of a largely uneventful first half, though, and a tame shot from Meyer was the only effort on target for either side until the opening goal.

Germany did hit the post shortly before the half-hour mark, though, when Gnabry showed blistering pace to beat his man down the left channel only to see his subsequent effort turned onto the post by Czech goalkeeper Luka Zima.

Selke then dragged an effort comfortably wide of the target moments later before Mahmoud Dahoud drilled a long-range strike well over.

A much-needed opening goal finally arrived with just a minute of the first half remaining, but it took a goalkeeping error to break the deadlock as Zima allowed Meyer's shot to sneak in underneath his arm.

The second half got off to a much quicker start and Germany almost had their second within three minutes of the restart when Mitchell Weiser drew a good reaction stop from Zima after the ball had broken kindly for him inside the area.

Stefan Kuntz's side did double their advantage moments later, though, and again it stemmed from a Czech error as Michal Sacek failed to cut the ball out inside his own area, only succeeding in touching it into the path of Gnabry, who duly swept his finish past the keeper.

Jakub Jankto looked for an instant response for Czech Republic but could only drag his shot wide of the target before Germany were back on the front foot and tested Zima twice in quick succession with efforts from Niklas Stark and Gnabry.

Meyer then curled an effort wide from just outside the area before Czech Republic enjoyed their best spell of the game, with Patrik Schick squandering their first clear chance when placing his finish over the crossbar after the ball had dropped kindly for him.

The Czechs almost pulled a goal back in more unorthodox fashion moments later when Julian Pollersbeck saw his clearance charged down by Jankto and was fortunate to see the ball bounce past the post.

An end-to-end period of the match followed with both sides failing to hit the target with efforts from outside the area before Jankto could not get enough power on a finish at the far post.

Germany did have chances to put the game beyond all doubt, most notably when they were awarded a penalty for handball with just five minutes of normal time remaining. Selke's spot kick was low and towards the bottom corner, but Zima went some way to atoning for his earlier error by pulling off a fine save to keep the deficit at two.

It could have proved to be a crucial save had Schick - the top scorer in qualifying with 10 goals - not wasted another clear chance moments later, again firing over the crossbar from inside the area.

That all but ended any hopes of a late comeback from Czech Republic as they fell to defeat which leaves them up against it going into their clashes with Italy and Denmark later this week.

The Czechs will face Italy on Wednesday, while Germany are back in action against Denmark on the same day.

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The England players lift Bobby Moore up with the World Cup trophy on July 30, 1966.
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