Euro 2012: Germany eeks opener

Germany hardly over-impressed, but managed to sneak by Portgual 1-0 in their group opener for the Euro 2012. A powerful header by Mario Gomez after 76 minutes provided the only goal. Overall, it was a less than stellar performance, as the DFB squad looked slow and plodding, dicking around in midfield without much attacking will or pace.

The strength was clearly the defense, which pretty much put a strangle hold on the Portgual attack. Matts Hummels was outstanding, winning everything in the air, and filling in when his teammates were beaten. A few times Cristiano Ronaldo was able to make his dangerous runs, but for the most part Jerome Boateng did a good job. Badstuber was generally solid, but captain Philipp Lahm was unusually ineffective. He wasn’t too challenged on the left flank, but his contributions moving forward were below his usual efforts. The midfield had a lot of possession, but it was here that things began to break down. Sami Khedira was probably the best, winning balls and pushing forward. But most of the others, like Schweinsteiger and Özil seemed content just to pass the ball around. Podolski was largely ineffective, and Thomas Müller managed a few runs down the flanks, but also was absent most of the time. Even Mario Gomez was largely invisible for large parts of the game.

For Portugal, they were content to defend until they fell behind, when they threw everything forward. Fabio Coentrao was their best player, all over the field. Pepe was pretty solid in defense. Their attack was usually snuffed out, and it wasn’t until late in the game that they got rolling. You got the clear impression that they were playing for a draw.

A somewhat fortunate win for Germany, but at least it gets them some critical points in the Group of Death.

Germany   -   Portugal    1:0 (0:0)

Attendance: 32,990 (Lviv, Ukraine)

1:0 Gomez (72., Khedira)

Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm
Schweinsteiger, Khedira
Th. Müller (90. L. Bender), Özil (87. Kroos), Podolski
Gomez (80. Klose)

Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao
Moutinho, Meireles (80. Varela)
Nani, Postiga (70. Oliveira), Ronaldo

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