The wait is over. Portugal will take on Euro 2008 finalists Germany tomorrow, June 9th, in the tournament’s first high profile clash. The match will be played at the newly built Arena Lviv in Ukraine.
The two teams last met in a third place match at the 2006 World Cup. Germany won 3-1 in Stuttgart.
For Portugal, it will be important not to lose, and the Germans will want to show their offensive prowess and get rid of one of the rivals for the knock-out round early.
And although many people predict a German win there’s one person who thinks the Selecção will win.
Yvonne the cow
Yvonne the runaway cow is the latest star from the animal kingdom to predict match results. However the German cow may be out of a job soon after predicting Portugal will beat Germany in their opening group match.
The Portugal squad left their base in Poland this morning before flying to Ukraine ahead of tomorrow evening’s game against Germany, as the start of their Euro 2012 campaign draws ever closer.
The entire squad took part in their final training session in Opalenica last night, including Nani who looks to have made a complete recovery from the foot injury that he sustained against Turkey last weekend.
Afterwards, reserve goalkeeper Eduardo attended a press conference in which he was keen to put aside some of the recent negative comments surrounding the Selecção and call for positivity ahead of Saturday’s game:
Call for positivity
“If we win against Germany we will quieten a lot of this criticism that is going on. We, as Portuguese, need to support the national team. Don’t crucify us before the tournament has begun. At the end we will be here to show our faces and take responsibility, whatever the result. Please don’t judge us before that.”
Portugal coach Paulo Bento has said his side must be brave to beat the Germans, especially after their recent 3-1 defeat to Turkey and last month’s goalless draw with Macedonia.
“Against a team like Germany you need to be organised,” he said. “You need to have courage because if you only think about defending, then surely you won’t be able to get a good result.
Löw is wary
Few are tipping Portugal to spring a surprise in their opening game, but German coach Joachim Löw is certainly not writing off the Selecção, urging his players to be wary of their many attacking threats:
“Portugal have four or five world-class players. They are one of the most dangerous and effective teams when their opponents lose the ball. Because they are one of the best at launching counter-attacks we need to attack with great intensity and force them to stay in their own midfield. We cannot lose concentration for a second.”
The Germans are as to how to overcome Portugal. Lukas Poldolski told German newspaper Bild that he is expecting to keep Ronaldo quiet en route to a comfortable 2-0 win:
“Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world so we have to stop him. But we managed that the last time we played against Portugal and we’ll do it again on Saturday. We have to be aggressive, entangle him in some tough tackles and take away his love of football.”
Germany have two injury concerns ahead of the opening game against Portugal. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose have both been out with respective calf and thigh injuries. However, manager Joachim Low has insisted that the duo will be fit before the game and will take part in the clash against the Portuguese side. Per Mertesacker is expected to be fit despite colliding with Jerome Boateng in training yesterday. Philipp Lahm is expected to switch from his favoured right-back position to the left with either Boateng or Lars bender starting at right.
For A Selecção, Nani was a major doubt for the Germany game after he suffered a foot injury in the 3-1 loss to Turkey last week. But it is understood that the Manchester United winger has resumed training and will be returning to full training soon.
- The teams are meeting for the 17th time. Germany has won eight of 16, Portugal just three.
- Germany have the slight edge in eight competitive encounters, winning three to Portugal’s two.
- Their last encounter came in the Euro 2008 quarter-finals, when Germany won 3-2.
- Portugal have only won one of their past six matches.
- And they have suffered goalless draws in three of their past five matches.
- Germany have won 11 competitive matches in a row.
- But they have only won twice in their five friendly matches since Euro 2012 qualifying finished (losing against both France and Switzerland this year).
- Germany are unbeaten in all 10 previous opening matches at Euro final tournaments (5 wins, 5 draws).
- They won all 10 of their Euro 2012 qualifying matches, outscoring their opponents 34-7.
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