Game in a sentence
A tight, quite dull, affair springs into life in the final twenty minutes after Mario Gomez produces a fantastic header to put his recent troubles behind him and secure all three points for Germany.
- It was far from a classic. Portugal defended deep throughout, stayed disciplined within their shape and looked to stop Germany from creating. It worked for just over three quarters of the match.
- Ultimately, though, the one image most will take from this game is the Bayern Munich striker timing his jump to perfection and glancing a wonderful header past Rui Patricio in the Portugal goal.
- The goal was a gigantic one for Germany for so many reasons. Much of the talk heading into this game was around ‘Gomez or Klose’ with worries over the mental state of Gomez after his dismal showing in the Champions League final. Michael Ballack on ESPN pre-match also said the frontman was ‘sensitive’, suggesting that is why Joachim Low picked him in this game.
- Low’s decision proved correct. Gomez, who missed a sitter from two yards against Austria four years ago, had yet to prove himself on this stage but that all ended on this night in Lviv, ironically just seconds before his number was about to be put up by the official for Klose.
- Low, who needs Gomez to be full of confidence this month, was seconds away from removing his star striker, a substitution that would have forced him to answer questions about the player between now and Wednesday but thanks to that one header all that ended in that moment.
- Germany were probably just about worthy winners in this match. Their ability to counter Portugal’s deep defending by stretching the field with Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski should be admired. In a tournament full of narrow 4-2-3-1 formations, Germany’s wingers and full backs attacking the white line and sending accurate crosses into the box will be a rare site.
- They also defended extremely well. Mats Hummels, preferred over Per Mertesacker, was superb alongside the excellent Holger Badstuber and that pair looks set to be their centre back partnership for the rest of the tournament.
- Portugal will be disappointed to not get a point in this match but, in truth, their stubborn defensively display was the only area of their team to be admired. That leaves people to once again question their tactics. They don’t look like scoring many goals until they go behind and strangely they looked a lot more dangerous once they were losing.
- Although Paulo Bento’s tactics will be questioned, Portugal fans will be best to be reminded that they came very close to beating arguably the best team in this tournament. They prevented Germany from countering with pace, moving the ball quickly and almost took the lead on them when Pepe’s shot hit the crossbar and came down just on the line.
- Next for them comes Denmark, a side that did Portugal a huge favour in taking all three points off the Dutch earlier in the day. For Portugal, this group was not what they could do against Germany. It was all about beating Denmark on the pitch and beating Netherlands in points gained in the group. Both of those scenarios still look very possible.
- Finally, we have to mention Cristiano Ronaldo. On the pitch he struggled to get space to create much but the big story came at half time when he came out with a short sleeve shirt on and with a new hair style!!
Ronaldo in the first half.
Ronaldo in the second half.
- Thomas Muller
- Joao Moutinho
- Mario Gomez
Six Super Stats
- Germany remain unbeaten in all of their 11 opening matches at Euro Final tournaments recording 6 wins and 5 draws.
- Portugal have now lost 3 successive European Championship matches for the first time in the history of the competition. At Euro 2008 Portugal lost to Switzerland (0-2) and Germany (2-3) and now they fall to Germany again.
- Germany have now won their last 12 competitive matches since losing to Spain in the 2012 World Cup semis. Only Spain are on a longer winning streak in competitive matches (14).
- Germany have now scored at least once in each of their last 17 matches, the longest running scoring streak apart from Uruguay (18).
- Mario Gomez has now scored the opening goal for Germany 8 times with Germany winning 6, drawing once and losing once.
- At age 20 Nélson Oliveira became the second youngest player ever to represent Portugal at the Euro’s. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (19) was younger at his Euro debut in 2004.
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