After watching France have to settle for a 1-1 draw against Hungary earlier in the day, Portugal knew that victory on Saturday evening would have secured the defending European champions a spot out of Group F.
However, despite watching talisman Cristiano Ronaldo open the scoring after a speedy counter attack with 15 minutes on the clock, The Navigators failed to keep up that momentum and saw their fellow former world champions lay down what was a clinical marker in Munich.
With Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro turning into their own net in the space of four minutes, the three-time European champions headed into the break with the advantage and they certainly didn’t let it slip in front of 12,926 fans.
Still with the chance to come out of a stacked Group F as winners, we have taken a look at the man talking points after what was a six-goal thriller on Saturday evening.
Germany make their mark
Suffering that 1-0 loss against France in their Group F opener last week and with it already confirmed that Joachim Löw will be stepping down after the summer, some expected Germany to have another tournament to forget after their exploits out in Russia three years ago.
However, despite watching Ronaldo finish off an impressive counter attack after Toni Kroos’ first-half corner, Löw’s side didn’t let their heads drop and demonstrated a similar performance that saw them land a 7-1 romp against Latvia in their final pre-tournament friendly earlier in the month.
Impressing from the opening whistle in front of what was a noisy home support and taking just 24 minutes to complete the turnaround following Dias’ and Guerreiro’s own goals, there is no doubt that Germany were more than deserving of their victory in Munich on Saturday evening.
With recently crowned Champions League winner Kai Havertz and the hugely impressive Robin Gosens finishing off the job with a pair of quick-fire second-half strikes after the break, many feel that their display on home soil was their most polished performance in recent times.
Ronaldo’s influence not enough
While they might have left it late out in Budapest in their Group F opener last week, some expected Portugal to fancy their chances of building off of that 3-0 win on foreign soil and causing a real upset.
Watching France have to settle for a 1-1 draw away at a plucky Hungary earlier in the day, Ronaldo’s opener after 15 minutes put the defending European champions in the perfect position to secure their spot in the knockout stage and relieve what would have been a huge amount of pressure.
However, although Liverpool winger Diogo Jota might have set up what could have been a grandstand finish in Munich, especially with Renato Sanches hitting the post moments later, even Portugal’s favourite son couldn’t guide them to what would have been their first victory against Germany since 2000.
At least taking solace from the fact that Ronaldo managed to build on his own free-scoring start to the tournament, the record-breaking 36-year-old recorded his 107th international goal on his 177th appearance and moves the Juventus man within two of Iran’s Ali Daei, whose 109 goals is a world record.
All eyes on Wednesday
From a neutrals perspective, Germany’s victory on Saturday evening certainly sets up what could be a rollercoaster final round of fixtures when a star-studded Group F draws to a close in midweek.
After watching Hungary pick up that vital point against the defending world champions earlier in the day, Germany’s thumping victory on Saturday evening was absolutely pivotal if they’re to secure a top-two spot in what has been billed ‘the group of death’.
In what promises to be a thrilling finale on Wednesday and just a single point separating France and their fellow two former European champions, Germany will face off against Hungary, while Portugal already know they must get something from Les Bleus if they stand any chance of progressing.
With it all left to play for and following on from the weekend’s six-goal thriller in Munich, all eyes should be set for an action-packed midweek fixture list.
Portugal: Patrício (6), Semedo (5.5), Pepe (4.5), Dias (4.5), Guerreiro (4), Danilo (5), B. Silva (4), Fernandes (5), Carvalho (5), Jota (7.5), Ronaldo (7.5)
Subs: Sanches (7), Moutinho (6), A. Silva (5.5)
Germany: Neuer (6.5), Ginter (6), Hummels (6.5), Rudiger (6.5), Kimmich (7), Gundogan (7), Kroos (7), Gosens (8.5), Muller (7.5), Havertz (8.5), Gnabry (7.5)
Subs: Can (5), Sule (6), Halstenberg (5.5), Goretzka (6), Sane (N/A)
Goals: Portugal: Ronaldo 15’, Jota 67’ – Germany: Dias OG 35’, Guerreiro OG 39’, Havertz 51’, Gosens 60’
Yellow Cards: Ginter, Havertz
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Anthony Taylor
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