A Mark Stendera brace has taken Germany through to the FIFA U-20 World Cup knockout stages with a 3-0 win over Uzbekistan, maintaining their perfect start to the competition.
It was no more than the European champions deserved after a dominant display punctuated with three delightful, but different, goals, with captain Kevin Akpoguma's strike sandwiched in between the No10's double.
The expected pattern was adhered to from the word go as Uzbekistan sat back with two compact banks of four, looking to shut and snuff out every promising move from the Germans. It was understandable, with the Europeans having shown what they can do with space and untracked runs against Fiji, but the tactic nullified the game for much of the opening stages.
Frustrated at the limited opportunities, Frank Wormuth's team took to trying their luck from range. Robert Bauer was marginally over with his ambitious shot, but Stendera showed him how it was done. Scorer of a spectacular strike in his team's opener, the Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder added to his highlights reel with a sweetly struck free-kick, curling into the bottom right-hand corner.
Either side of that goal Hany Mukthar failed to beat Dilshod Khamaraev in a bid to build on the three goals already to his name. But having gone behind, Uzbekistan had to open themselves up after hardly threatening in the opening period.
After the break, though, the Central Asians were their own worst enemies, gifting the ball to the Germans far too easily when they did manage to salvage possession. No example was clearer than the second goal. Dostonbek Khamdamov was dispossessed by captain Akpoguma, and with no one closing the defender down, he expertly stroked the ball in to corner.
A great run by Promel, skipping diagonally across the field, allowed him to tee-up Levin Oztunali. But his rising shot brought the best save of the night from Khamdamov, though Stendera did put some gloss on the scoreline. Cutting in from the left, a one-two with Mukhtar left him inside the Uzbek area with the goal at his mercy and the result was a margin of victory that reflected how comfortable the victory had been.