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Germany is the first team to show their best at Euro 2016

Germany thrashed Slovakia 3-0 on Sunday, and it was frightening.

Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Though squabbles over the merits and demerits of the expanded Euro 2016 qualifying format continue, it's certainly true to say that the pre-tournament fear of extremely one-sided football have proven, for the most part, unfounded. There have only been one or two exceptions to the rule, with the most recent coming as Germany cruised to a 3-0 victory over Slovakia in Sunday's first knockout round meeting in Lille.

Joachim Löw's side took the lead through Jérôme Boateng after just eight minutes, and they never looked like relinquishing it. By the final whistle, Mario Gómez and Julian Draxler had their names on the scoresheet, and Germany looked utterly at ease.

Admittedly, it was not a great performance from Slovakia, who lacked the defensive solidity demonstrated in their goalless group stage outing against England. But against a Germany side that looked so utterly dominant, it can seem unduly harsh to end the acclaim and lay the blame. With the exception of Spain's easy group stage win over an inexperienced Turkey, it was about as comprehensive a performance as we've seen so far. And in light of the extremely labored knockout games we saw on Saturday, it was peculiarly refreshing to see a team play with such ease.

It wasn't a radically different approach from coach Löw, who stuck largely with what we've seen through the tournament so far. Fullbacks Jonas Hector and Joshua Kimmich pushed high up the field; Draxler, Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller freely interchanged in the final third; Gómez's physicality up front served as both an outlet for Boateng's fine long-range passing and a foil for the excellent technicians buzzing around the final third. In design it was the same as their last match against Northern Ireland; in execution, it was considerably better. Just check out Draxler's assist for Gomez on the second goal.

Credit: user declanrand on r/soccer

There are a few lessons that can be learned from their total domination. Slovakia afforded Toni Kroos far too much time to pull the strings in the center of the midfield, and left far too much space between the lines. They facilitated Germany's rapid switches from one side of the field to the other, lacking the kind of compact defending required to keep a team of Germany's quality quiet. And in possession, they failed miserably to exploit the space vacated by the onrushing Hector and Kimmich -- the obvious Achilles heel in a tactical blueprint in which the fullbacks are responsible for providing almost all of the attacking width.

But perhaps the biggest takeaway from this match is that after a slightly slow start, Germany are now starting to fire on all cylinders. Their positional play was fluid but familiar, and their passing purposeful and incisive. If there was any doubt that they were serious contenders, there can be no longer.