Another lacklustre Portugal side became the first of the last eight to crash out of Euro 2008. The Portuguese were outclassed by the Germans, whose efficient passing play saw them score some fantastic goals and book their place in the semis with a match against eitherÂ Turkey or Croatia.
Three-time winners Germany started the gameÂ brightly and created several chances, causing problems for the defence of the Euro 2004 finalists Portugal. And the Germans got their reward on 22 minutes, when Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger – who was back in the side after his one match suspension – broke away from his marker Paulo Ferreira, and got on the end of a Lukas Podolski cross, smashing the ball past Portugal keeper Ricardo.
The Germans doubled the scoring 4 minutes later, after Christoph Metzelder was fouled by Armando Petit 40 yards from goal.Â The scorer of the first goal, Bastian Schweinsteiger, took the free kick and floated the ball to the far post, where Schweinsteiger’s Bayern MunichÂ teammate Miroslav Klose beat the offside trap to headed the ball past Ricardo.
However, the Germans’ lead was halved five minutes before the interval when from the edge of his box, Deco began a counter-attack and played a long ball to Simao Sabrosa. Simao then passed to Cristiano Ronaldo, whose shot was blocked by Germany keeper Jens Lehmann, only for the ball to deflect back out to Nuno Gomes, who made no mistake of his golden opportunity and hit a left-footed shot past Lehmann and in off Metzelder’s outstretched leg.
Germany put more pressure on the Portuguese just after the hour mark, when Michael Ballack got on the end of another Schweinsteiger free kick, and headed the ball past the badly positioned Ricardo to give the Germans a 3-1 lead. However, the goal caused controversy as Ballack was judged to have pushed Paulo Ferreira when jumping to head the ball.
Portugal tried to come back into the game and threw everything at Germany in the closing stages, and scored in the 87th minute when substitute Helder Postiga headed powerfully past Ricardo from an excellent cross by winger Nani, to make the score 3-2.
But is was not to be as Germany held on, and despite Portugal’s best efforts, they could not find a way past the determined German defence, who held on to put their country into the last four of the European Championships.
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