Match in a sentence
It took them 72 minutes to finally break through a strong, narrow, and organized Portugal defence, but a goal scored by the much maligned Mario Gomez is what made it a fitting moment in a game that came to life in the final 20 minutes.
- It took half an hour for these teams to settle into this game with the Germans holding much of the possession, but they were unable to orchestrate their fluid passing and gave away the ball far too often for my liking and that gave Portugal belief and confidence which grew throughout the game.
- The tournaments best player Cristiano Ronaldo struggled throughout the game and didn’t touch the ball until the 17th minute. Ronaldo had to drop way to deep to receive the ball as he struggled to find space or create it in the Germans final third.
- The Germans played a 4-2-3-1 in which I believe Kroos would be much suited over Podolski and usher out Ozil into the wider areas. Podolski and Muller did a good job stretching the very much deep/narrow Portuguese defence at times, and during certain periods of the game you just thought it wasn’t a matter of how but when would the Germans score.
- The Portuguese played their usual 4-3-3 but they were far much deeper today which they had to be, in order to prevent them from giving the Germans too much space. Bento’s plans worked for three quarters of the game as they almost prevented the tournaments best team from picking up three points. 24-year-old Fabio Coentrao who had an exceptional World Cup was immense tonight and was the best player in a Portugal shirt.
- When the team sheet was released, we realized Joachim Low had preferred to go with the highly rated 23-year-old Borussia Dortmund CB Mats Hummels & Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez, who pushed aside veterans Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose to the bench. Unlike the Switzerland game in which he had a poor performance along side Per Mertesacker, Hummels was superb tonight and has possibly secured a staring spot along side Badstuber, as they were excellent.
- For 71 minutes the Germans were identical to the Dutch in terms of finishing as they were woeful in the final third, until Mario Gomez leaped high up into the air and smashed his header past Rui Patricio. The goal came after a nice intervention between Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger who also had good games.
- The goal came seconds before Gomez was to be replaced by Klose. 4 years ago, he missed a sitter against Austria and after played no significant part on their road to the finals. Gomez is a very emotional striker and Low receives plaudits for starting the striker who requires confidence to perform at a top level. The goal can ignite the confidence Gomez needs and it also erases the night in Munich in which they lost to Chelsea on penalties in the Champions League Final.
- The Germans did deserve the win by the narrowest margins, and the Portuguese might feel as if they at least were worthy of a point but this game leaves us with many questions. The Portuguese can go into Wednesday’s game against the Danes with positives but tactically speaking they were the better team for the last 15 minutes AFTER they conceded the goal. Strangely, they defended so well, but never looked like they were going to score, albeit Pepe’s shot off the crossbar. They were able to prevent the Germans from moving the ball freely, and slowed down the tempo of their game
- These are questions the Portuguese camp will have to address going into their must win game against a Denmark side that defeated Holland earlier 1-0. It will be interesting as both sides play better football when soaking up pressure and hitting on the break. The Portuguese will take the game to the Danes but do they have the ability and creativity to break them down. It has been their downfall over recent years to beat lower sides because they failed to do this. The Danes did them a favour today and this loss won’t alarm them because they were never expected to top the group. Destiny lies in their hands as they always had to beat Denmark and finish with more points than Holland. This is all still very likely for the Portuguese after the results that have transpired today.
- Germany tends to be slow starters and will be happy with the three points. They beat a good Portuguese side when not being at their best, so one can only imagine what they’re capable of on their day. They now face a Dutch side that is desperate for a win as a loss can see them out of the tournament. A win will guarantee the Germans a birth in the knockout round, and a good chance of topping the group as expected.
- Mario Gomez
- Fabio Coentrao
- Sami Khedira
Mats Hummels and Mesut Ozil get honourable mention and should be in that list, but Gomez got the winner so that’s why he is #1, before I get blasted.