Germany are many people’s favourites to take home the Euro 2012 trophy. Considering their strength in depth, it’s likely they’ll be there or thereabouts come the business end of the tournament. Since their embarrassment at Euro 2000, the Germans have established one of the strongest youth development programmes in world football and the rewards are being reaped twelve years later, with players such as Marco Reus, Mario Goetze, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil just to name a few of the players in the squad who are part of this golden generation of talented footballers that the Germans have brought through
Cristi-, sorry, Portugal have quietly gone about their business and are thankful to be in a group where most of the attention from fans have been placed elsewhere. They have a strong back four and a midfield of solid players, although perhaps abject of anything spectacular. Then there’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Not much can be said about the Real Madrid attacker. One of the best players of his generation is head and shoulders above any of his teammates. If he plays well – Portugal will go far.
Know nothing about either of these sides? Ryan Keaney’s Group B preview has everything you need to know.
Who to watch out for
Germany has a ridiculous amount of talent in their ranks. One to watch out for is the man leading the line today, Mario Gomez. The striker has been prolific at club level but as of yet has failed to deliver in the national team. He’s been favoured over the old reliable Miroslav Klose, in the hope that some of his goalscoring exploits in the Bundesliga will rub off in Poland & Ukraine.
For Portugal, it’s impossible to look past Ronaldo especially considering the quality of players around him. Nani is also capable of something magical, while Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso and Chelsea’s Raul Meireles are decent midfield players who will have a job on their hands trying to nullify the German talent.
Germany: Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Muller, Ozil, Podolski; Gomez
Portugal: Patrício; João Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Coentrão; Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles; Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo
Germany have been questionable defensively recently and despite the misfiring Portugal strikers, you’d expect them to find a goal from somewhere. Portugal will put up a fight when behind the ball, but if Gomez can find his scoring boots and the players around him can find time on the ball then Germany should cause damage. 2-2.
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