Euro 2017: Germany beat Russia to finish top of Group B

Germany qualify for the knock-out stages of the European Championships as Group B winners following a 2-0 victory over Russia.

The Germans were unbeaten in 19 games against Russia ahead of the final group match and took advantage of Sweden's surprise 3-2 defeat to Italy to set up a Euro 2017 quarter-final with Denmark on Saturday 29 July.

Missed chances

Steffi Jones' side finished the group with seven points and qualified for the final eight ahead of second-placed Sweden on four points - with Italy and Russia both eliminated with three apiece.

Although Germany produced a dominant display over the Russians on Tuesday evening they had to rely on two penalties, scored by Babett Peter and captain Dzenifer Marozsan, to secure the victory.

German supporters may feel a little underwhelmed with the performance by their team, as once again Germany failed to score from open play - a feat which has plagued the reigning champions in their previous two matches.

Against Russia, their weakest opponent in the group, Germany had hoped to set their tournament campaign alight heading into the quarter-finals.

Good Start

Russia's heaviest defeat in their history came against Germany in 2013 following a 9-0 defeat in a FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier, and their only hope of progressing to the knockout stages this time around was with a victory in their final group match.

However it wasn't meant to be as Germany, who are seeking to win the European championships for a seventh time in a row, made the perfect start to their final group game putting the ball into the back of the net after just 70 seconds, only for the referee to call striker Mandy Islacker back for offside.

It was Islacker in the thick of the action once again in the 9th minute, as she was wrestled to the ground by a Russian defender. German defender Peter stepped up to the spot and slotted the subsequent penalty low into the corner of Tatyana Shcherbak's goal. The Russian keeper guessed the right way and may be dissapointed considering she got a hand to the well-placed penalty.

Germany continued to dominate, but it was certainly a game of missed opportunities. The European heavyweights had a plethora of chances - 29 attempts on goal to be exact, 11 of those shots were on target - yet they couldn't find the finishing touch, with many efforts coming from distance which rarely troubled Shcherbak.

Although, Peter forced the best save of the night in the 30th minute as her header from a corner forced the Russian keeper to push the effort on to the woodwork.

Regardless of their missed chances, the champions mentality was the eventual winner as Germany sealed the victory in the 55th minute. The Russian defence's lack of disclipline was once again a talking point as Sara Dabritz had her shirt tugged in the area and the referee pointed to the spot.

Captain Marozsan cooly converted, stroking the ball to Shcherbak's left to set up a quarter-final clash with Denmark.

Germany once again make a slow start

Jones' team have surprisingly stuttered into the last eight of the tournament. However, you can never rule the Germans out to top the podium as we saw a similar story unfold at Euro 2013, when they went onto win their sixth European Championships. Germany finished second in their group that year with one win, a draw and a loss. But, they showed their undeniably class with a late flurry of 1-0 wins in the final stages to clinch the title.

Nonetheless Jones remains confident going into the quarters, saying that "we have seen improvement again in this game" before adding that she is "convinced that we will make goals against Denmark".

"The machinery is starting to roll now", said Jones, who admitted that she could not care less how the goals go in in the qaurter-final against Denmark "as long as we score."