Germany, Poland through
Mario Gomez struck as world champions Germany beat Northern Ireland 1-0 in Paris yesterday to qualify for the Euro 2016 knockout phase as winners of Group C.
The on-loan Besiktas striker netted from Thomas Mueller's pass in the 30th minute at Parc des Princes.
That Germany did not win more handsomely was due largely to the excellence of Northern Irish goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
But it was enough to preserve their position at the top of the group on goal difference above Poland, who beat Ukraine by the same scoreline in Marseille.
Joachim Loew's side will now turn their thoughts to a last 16 tie against either Albania, Slovakia or the third-place team in Group F -- which is yet to conclude -- in Lille on Sunday.
Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland, meanwhile, must wait to have their qualification confirmed.
Finishing third in the group, their 2-0 win over Ukraine last week puts them in a strong position to go through as one of the four best third-place teams in what is their first European Championship finals.
Whereas O'Neill's side had set the tempo in Lyon, they were immediately on the back foot against Germany.
McGovern was solicited three times in the first 12 minutes, saving alertly with his body and feet from Gomez, Mesut Ozil and Mario Goetze, who dropped into an attacking midfield role to accommodate Gomez up front.
Mueller twice went close, thrashing a shot across goal and then striking the base of the right-hand post with a plunging header, before creating the opener for Gomez.
Gomez's subtle pass sent the Bayern Munich forward scampering through and after luring McGovern from his line, he showed great awareness to lay the ball off for Gomez, who steered the ball through a thicket of defenders and into the net.
All Northern Ireland offered in response was a Jamie Ward shot that went straight at Manuel Neuer.
On the day's other match, a second half strike by substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski booked Poland's ticket into the last-16 at Euro 2016 and sent hapless Ukraine home without a point.
The 30-year-old Fiorentina veteran scored minutes from his introduction at halftime to decide the tie.
With two 1-0 wins in Group C against Northern Ireland and the Ukrainians either side of a scoreless draw against Germany, Poland finished in second place in the group on goal difference.
After defeats to Germany and the Irish, Ukraine were already eliminated before the game in the Stade Velodrome. Their latest failure meant they became the first team to go five matches without a goal in Euro history.
With pride at stake for Mykhailo Fomenko's men and a chance of topping the Group C table beckoning for Poland, both teams attacked from the off.
Poland's formidable strike pair Arkadiusz Milik and Robert Lewandowski each had early chances, the Bayern Munich star volleying the more clearcut of the two over Andriy Yatov's crossbar.
Lewandowski found more room than in the previous two games and had a drive deflected wide on 20 minutes, but from the half-hour Ukraine began to assert themselves.
However, it was Poland's half-time sub Blaszczykowski who broke the deadlock with a delightful strike.
Fed by Milik on the right of the area in the 53rd minute, he worked the ball onto his left foot and curled a shot inside the far-post to send the Velodrome, decked out mainly in Poland's red and white, into raucous celebration.