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Lahm, Boateng back strong defence

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, English Premier League 10 Jun 2012

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Germany defenders Philipp Lahm and Jerome Boateng were delighted to keep a clean sheet against Portugal.

A second-half header from Mario Gomez was enough to give Joachim Low’s men a vital 1-0 victory in their opening game of Euro 2012 and move them equal top of Group B alongside Denmark.

Despite boasting the attacking talents of Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal created few clear-cut chances, with Pepe coming the closest when he struck the bar in the first-half.

“It is very important to start the tournament with a victory. It always is!” Lahm told reporters.

“We controlled the match in the first-half, and Portugal had only one chance from Pepe.”

Portugal improved after the break, with Nani’s cross-shot hitting the bar and Silvestre Varela drawing a fine save from Manuel Neuer, and the Bayern Munich skipper credited Germany’s teamwork with helping them grab the win.

“During the second-half we had problems, especially at the end. But that happens. It is all about the team. We know that and we showed that today,” the 28-year-old said.

Despite enjoying a prolific season at club level, Ronaldo’s impact was limited thanks in part to a fine German defensive display, and Jerome Boateng was quick to praise the efforts of his teammates.

“Everybody knows his (Ronaldo’s) class,” said the ex-Manchester City defender.

“We managed to keep him quiet as a team. The whole team worked very hard offensively and defensively.”

Germany’s next Euro 2012 game is against Netherlands on Wednesday.

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