Euro 2020: Portugal vs. Germany – ‘Ronaldo does more than just move Coke cans around’ | DW | 18.06.2021

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Portugal vs. Germany
June 19, 18:00 CET
Munich

Guten Tag! Bom dia! Welcome to DW’s buildup to and live coverage of Germany’s second game of Euro 2020, the Group F clash against reigning champions Portugal in Munich. After a deserved defeat to France in their first match, Joachim Löw’s men are under pressure to get points on the board. 

Kick-off in Munich on Saturday is at 18:00 CET.

How did Germany’s opening game go?

Deutschland München | UEFA Euro 2020 | Frankreich v Deutschland

Joshua Kimmich thought Germany “deserved a point” against France

Not well. Joshua Kimmich wasn’t alone in insisting that Germany “deserved a point” against France but, in the cold light of day, even Kimmich would have to admit that Germany were clearly second best as they slipped to a 0-1 defeat.

Germany dominated possession but, in the absence of an out-an-out striker, the front line of Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and Thomas Müller failed to create any real chances of note.

In the end, it may only have been a single goal – an own goal scored by Mats Hummels – but world champions France looked comfortable throughout and would have won by more, had Kylian Mbappé just managed to stay onside.

Against Portugal, a more potent threat in front of goal is required. Meanwhile, the defense may have seen the back of Mbappé, but now they have to deal with Cristiano Ronaldo …

How did Portugal’s opening game go?

Ungarn Budapest | UEFA Euro 2020 | Tor für Portugal

Portugal’s main man: Cristiano Ronaldo

It took 84 hard-fought minutes in Budapest but Hungary’s resistance finally cracked as Portugal opened the defense of their Euro 2016 title with a 3-0 win. Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro broke the deadlock before Ronaldo added two more, including a penalty.

However, despite the talented names on the teamsheet, Ronaldo, Bernando Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota and co struggled to create clear chances against the well-organized Hungarians.

Germany won’t be anywhere near as defensive as Hungary, though, which could provide the recipe for an exciting, open game. And Portugal will be hoping that that will suit them.

And if they do find themselves needing a goal late on, Portugal can always look to the bench to change things up: in Andre Silva, who scored 28 Bundesliga goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, they have a proper striking option – the sort Germany could also do with.

Will Joachim Löw make any changes?

Fußball Euro 2020 | DFB Training in München | Leon Goretzka

Ready to return? Midfielder Leon Goretzka

Much of the pre-tournament discussion was about Germany’s use of a back three, with Kimmich and Robin Gosens used as attacking wingbacks. But the plan to attack France down the flanks didn’t bear fruit, and the deployment of two defensive midfielders in Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gündogan left Germany’s forwards isolated.

Against Portugal, Löw could be tempted to switch to a back four, with Matthias Ginter at right-back, allowing Kimmich to move into midfield, from where he can influence the game more.

Germany will also be hoping that Leon Goretzka will be able to play a role, after missing the France game through injury. The Bayern Munich midfielder has scored 13 goals in 31 live for the Nationalmannschaft and could be the ideal link-up between defense and attack. “Leon could be a good option in the course of the game,” said Löw, suggesting the 26-year-old may begin on the bench. But could he be fit enough to start?

Joachim Löw: ‘More risk, more intensity, more dynamism, more speed’

Speaking to the media on Friday evening, Löw said he believed his team defended “generally well” against France but admitted:

“It’s no secret that we didn’t create enough chances, and we’ve been working on that this week. Tactically, we need to offer something different, more offensive power. We need to be more direct, more dynamic. We need more intensity upon front, we need to play through different channels, we need to play with more risk, more speed, more dynamism into the final third.

“But the team have shown a positive reaction after a day’s rest.”

Joachim Löw: ‘Portugal are no longer a one-man show’

Asked for his evaluation of Germany’s opponents, Löw was keen to emphasize that Portugal are more than just Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Portugal aren’t just Ronaldo, they’re not a one-man show like in 2016, where so many of their attacks went through him,” he said. “They have four or five world class attackers – Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota, Joao Felix.

“Whereas France played quite narrow and direct, Portugal attack more with combination play of the highest level. Very variable and technically gifted.

“Even so, Ronaldo does more than just move Coca-Cola cans around.”

Do Germany need a striker?

Deutschland Bundesliga Bayer Leverkusen v Mainz 05

A proper striker? Kevin Volland in his Leverkusend days

It’s a question that has been asked at almost every major tournament since the revamp of Germany’s academy system in the early 2000s produced a generation of hugely talented, creative midfielders and wingers – but no target men.

Miroslav Klose did it in 2014, Mario Gomez to an extent in 2016. Timo Werner fell short in 2018, although he can perhaps be excused since he’s not really a number nine.

At Euro 2020, Löw has included Monaco striker Kevin Volland in his squad. The 28-year-old is not a household name but he did score 44 goals across four Bundesliga seasons for Bayer Leverkusen, before moving to France. He came on for five minutes at the end of the France game, but could Löw give him a chance against Portugal?

What’s the word from the Germany camp?

Matthias Ginter and Emre Can faced the inquisitive German media on Thursday to reflect on the defeat to France and look ahead to the game against Portugal.

“It hurt us all, because it was a bitter defeat and the disappointment was still there the day after,” admitted Can. “But today, the atmosphere is much better. We have to look forward and be positive.”

“We have a feeling of ‘this is the time!'”, said Ginter, revealing that the team had been working on set pieces – which had been particularly disappointing against France. “That was a topic in training,” he said. “We know we need to improve there.”

What else is happening in Group F?

Before Germany kick off at 18:00 CET, France are in action again against Hungary.

Like Portugal, the French will face a combative Hungary team in front of a hostile, full-capacity crowd in Budapest.

But victory for Didier Deschamps’ team would see them safely into the next round ahead of a showdown against Portugal in their final match.

 

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