With Portugal on a high from a 3-0 win against Hungary to open the works at the Euros, and Germany looking to recover from a 1-0 loss to World Cup champions France, an open-ended match would have been expected. But this was a lot of fun compared to the usual affair at the international stage, with Germany coming out as 4-2 winner against Portugal in their encounter at Munich today.
It is never easy to beat Germany, especially when they have home ground advantage in post-pandemic football. And yet Portugal managed to do it for 20 minutes, after a great counterattack wrapped up at the end by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Their diligent work at the back would be undone by their own defenders still in the first half. First with Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz forcing an own goal by Manchester City defender and Premier League Player of the Season, Rúben Dias.
Four minutes later, Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rüdiger would make the starting forward pass for a Germany attacking play that would end in the back of the net after Dias, desperately trying to send the ball away from Havertz in the six-yard box with a clearance, hits Guerreiro instead for a rebound and yet another own goal.
After half-time, it would be time for Havertz to finally get himself in the scoresheet after participating in the two first goals for Germany. A great low cross from Robin Gosens was the perfect setup for Havertz, who started the play out by taking the ball forward down the right flank.
Havertz’ assister would turn goalscorer nearly 10 minutes later. Fellow wingback Joshua Kimmich sent a cross to the far post, which Havertz tried to intercept as Portugal’s defence were all off-guard. The ball passed by him and got to Gosens, who put a nice header to beat Patrício.
Portugal would find some impetus to keep themselves within a fighting chance of at least tying the match against the hosts. A foul from Havertz near the 18-yard box created a good chance for Portugal to put the ball in a dangerous area. Wolverhampton’s João Moutinho did so with pleasure, with Cristiano Ronaldo assisting his assister to the opener, Diogo Jota, for Portugal’s second.
Renato Sanches almost got a third goal for Portugal, with his attempt hitting woodwork. But that was the last good effort we would see from the visitors, with Germany then getting a close shave of their own via Leon Goretzka, and keeping the ball to themselves while running a five-man defence to confirm their victory.
The result makes things a tad complicated in Group F, with France leading the pack with four points, Portugal and Germany tied at three and Hungary with one. Unless Hungary is out to surprise everyone again by tying or beating Germany, the key affair will be the Euro 2016 final reenactment between Portugal and France with a tie being enough to send Les Bleus through to the final stage.