Ge nanocrystals formed in a SiO2 matrix by ion implantation were studied by Raman spectroscopy. It is shown that Raman analysis based on the phonon confinement model yields a successful explanation of the peculiar characteristics resulting from the nanocrystals. A broadening and a shift in the Raman peak are expected to result from the reduced size of the crystals. Asymmetry in the peak is attributed to the variations in the size of the nanocrystals. These effects were observed experimentally for the Ge nanocrystals prepared by ion implantation and explained theoretically by incorporating the effect of size and size distribution into the theoretical description of the Raman shift. A comparison with the transmission electron microscopy images indicated that this analysis could be used to estimate the structural properties of nanocrystals embedded in a host matrix. The evolution of nanocrystal formation with annealing temperature, i.e. the size growth, was monitored by Raman spectrometry for several samples and the corresponding nanocrystal sizes were estimated using the phonon confinement model.