Group Elimination B: Saturday, 9 June 2012 - Lviv - New Lviv Stadium
The last match on Saturday will be played in Lviv, Ukraine where it will feature the Powerhouse German team who look to make a statement in their opening match against Portugal. This is a pivotal match for both teams as they are paired in the “Euro Cup Group of Death” with also Netherlands and Denmark.
Germany performed well in their last 5 qualifying matches and coming with the new formation of the players and also their formation or strategy. They won 3 matches, 1 draw and their only loss came to France back in February. The Germans are led by Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez whom they look for to supply a few goals during the tournament after having a great season in the Bundesliga but, the 26-year-old had some lapses when Munich needed him in the Champions League final against Chelsea and in the German Cup against Borussia Dortmund. (Germany Preview by Fran)
The German offensive stormed through the qualifying games like a pack militant skinheads walking through a small Asian grocery somewhere in Munich and achieved a perfect record, winning all 10 of their matches and scoring a massive 34 goals en route. Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira are expected to help propel the team further up the tournament ladder by using their gained experience at top European levels after their World Cup run back in 2010.
However, the Portuguese players are equipped with each of their individual brilliance that can topple any defense and unfortunately, defense is the biggest problem area for the German team and have let in too many goals on occasions so in the case of the upcoming game with Porto, the German power could break down if not corrected in time. (Germany Preview by Zan)
While Portugal in the European Cup is a very confident, they boast some of the world’s biggest names namely Cristiano Ronaldo is one of Real Madrid striker, and also winger Nani who comes in from Manchester United. The problem with Portugal is they can never close out the big games having come close in 2004 when they hosted but lost to Greece 1-0. Portugal will heavily depend on Ronaldo for his knack to score having 42 goals in Spanish La Liga. (Portugal Preview by Fran)
Cristiano Ronaldo, that already says a lot for a team. Having a player that is on top of the European as well as the world through football can do a lot for a team. Playing alongside Nani, Raul Meireles and Pepe is not bad either and if the Portos put their heads together, they can crush Germany’s already crumbling defensive wall.
But the Portuguese team also seem to face a similar problem with the Germans of having an attack that could open up any team with a defensive structure that can falter at crucial moments. They scored 27 goals in the qualifying matches, but let in a whopping 14 which almost made them miss the trip to the Championships. Plus, a string of bad games comes to mind such as the mismatch with Turkey. (Portugal Preview by Zan)
Predictions: Germany 2-1
Both teams come into this game with high expectations to win. They have similar styles in their attack. This is a game where Portugal has to play to their strength and not play too cautiously. I favor the Germans because this team is on a mission after coming short to Spain in 2008. I don’t want to take too much away from Portugal because with Ronaldo and Nani in the game anything is possible. (Prediction by Fran)
By the problems facing opposition, Portugal is not expected by many to make it through the group; and it would take a major upset to qualify for the next round. Just recently, Portugal suffered a 3-1 defeat with Turkey. Germany’s national team has a more players that are experienced and battle hardened. (Prediction by Zan)
There was no doubt that Germany and Portugal produced the best match of the evening, though, it wasn’t easy for team Germany having been put to the test. Striker Mario Gomez was’nt his usual self was close to being replaced by game and appeared to be on the verge of being replaced by fellow striker Miroslav Klose unti he netted the only goal of the game at the 72 minute mark delivering a 1-0 victory for the Germans.
The first half had some missed opportunities, Portugal’s Lukas Podolski failed to capitalize on some scoring opportunities. Portugal didn't do much going forward, but had a great opportunity in the first half but, missed a corner kick, with Pepe hitting the crossbar. The shot went off the underside of the bar but, hit the line, and never went over.
Germany looked lethargic they are usually in attack mode throughout the game. Mesut Özil tried to run the show from the center like he usually does for the Germans and for Real Madrid, but the three forwards in front of him weren't making the right runs, and Özil wasn't exactly at his best either. Germany just didn’t look like the dominate team who crushed Israel and Belguim is the qualifying. But by the 72nd minute, is when Gomez went to work . When all else fails, it's not a bad idea to just throw some bodies and some balls into the penalty area, and Germany found their goal on a hopeful move that fit that description. Sami Khedira set up the cross on the game-winner by swinging a ball towards the center of the box for Gomez. Gomez leaped up and met the ball with a great header, directed into the back of the net at the far post to put Germany ahead 1-0.
Portugal attacked for an equalizer and found the oppertunity on a few occasions, but never capitalized due to the great woodwork of Manuel Neuer and the Germany defense. On one occasion, Nani managed to hit the crossbar with what appeared to be cross, but ended up looking like an odd, but effective shot. Neuer was forced into a late save on substitute Silvestre Varela, while Mats Hummels made a number of impressive clearances in the final 20.
EURO 2012: Germany vs Portugal Timeline
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