Venue – Arena Lviv, Lviv, Ukraine
Local Kick-off Time: 20:45
GK – Neuer
DEF – Boateng, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Lahm
MID – Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Muller, Ozil, Podolski
ATT – Gomez
GK – Rui Patricio
DEF – Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Fabio Coentrao
MID – Raul Meireles, Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho
ATT – Luis Nani, Helder Postiga, Cristiano Ronaldo
Germany will be coming face to face with Portugal at the Arena Lviv in Ukraine, in one of the most awaited clashes from the ‘Group of Death’ in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.
The Germans are one of the favourites to go all the way in the tournament. A vastly talented squad with impeccable chemistry have made the Germans as one of the superpowers in world football alongside the likes of Spain and Netherlands.
The fact that the core of the German team sticks together throughout the year, even at the club level provides a huge advantage to the team coming together at the international stage. Majority of squad are teammates at Bayern Munich, which includes Captain Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mario Gomez, Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Thomas Muller.
Joachim Low is expecting to have the fitness issues resolved and have a fully-fit squad at his disposal to choose from. Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker is likely to partner the Bayern Munich trio of Lahm, Boateng and Badstuber at the back. Meanwhile Bastian Schweinsteiger is likely to be restored to the heart of the midfield having overcome a calf strain that kept him out of the warm up games. Bayern Munich forward Mario Gomez is likely to lead the line for the Germans with Podolski and Muller in support.
The Germans have had a brilliant qualifying campaign and brushed their oppositions aside as they made their way to the finals of the European championships. However, there has been a drop in form for the Germans off late. Having lost 5-3 to the Swiss in the warm up games, Germany did not have the best possible preparation coming into the tournament. However, that was a team studded with young talents. With the senior players coming in, the desire to win will be stronger and Portugal can surely expect to face a highly motivated German side.
Speaking about the Portuguese, all eyes will be on their charismatic captain Cristiano Ronaldo who has had a sparkling season with Real Madrid and helped them to the league title scoring an unbelievable 60 goals in the process.
Paulo Bento is likely to field his team in a brave 4-3-3 formation with Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles partnering Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho in the midfield. Despite the injury concerns Manchester United winger Luis Nani is expected to shake off any fitness issues and feature in a three man forward line alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Helder Postiga. The Portugal defence looks pretty tight with Pepe and Bruno Alves at the back. Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao are expected to start as fullbacks. However, Pepe’s aggression and Pereira’s lack of experience could be a problem against an intelligent and matured German attack. The immensely talented Rui Patricio is likely to start in goal for the Portuguese and will look to add more solidarity to the Portuguese defence against an inspired German attack.
Both Germany and Portugal will be aware of the importance of getting their respective campaigns off to a good start as they try to wriggle their way out of the group which includes Denmark and the Netherlands. With the loser facing the situation of a potential exit from the tournament both teams will give it their all in a game which is expected to be thoroughly entertaining for the neutrals across the globe.
Prediction – Expect a cracking game. Both teams will come close. But fancy the Germans to nick this one.
Germany 2-1 Portugal.