Germany’s Euro 2020 campaign got going in earnest with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Portugal in Munich.
Germany dominated the first half but were hit with a sucker punch after 15 minutes when Portugal broke quickly to create a tap-in for Cristiano Ronaldo. They recovered towards the end of the half though, applying enough pressure for Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro to divert the ball past Rui Patricio to give Germany the lead.
In the early stages of the second half the Germans took over. Robin Gosens set up Kai Havertz for the third, before converting a Joshua Kimmich cross soon after for the fourth. Diogo Jota pulled one back for Portugal, before substitute Renato Sanches hit the post with a long range drive towards the end.
All four teams in Group F could still qualify for the knockout stages on Wednesday night. Portugal will stay in Munich to face France, while Germany travel to Budapest to take on Hungary.
TALKING POINT - Who will make it out of Group F?
Right from the moment that the draw was confirmed, this group looked like it could be a box of fireworks. Earlier today, Hungary upped the stakes by holding France to a draw in Budapest; this evening, Germany arrived in the tournament by battering Portugal in Munich.
That leaves the group wonderfully poised with two concurrent fixtures to go on Wednesday night. A full house of 60,000 in Budapest is a useful ally for a Hungary team that need to conjure a win over Germany to advance, while there’s a potentially tense encounter in Munich between France and Portugal where a point would probably be enough for either side to advance.
Germany tonight and France earlier in the week have turned in the two most impressive performances in the group, but all bets are off now. For the fans it’ll be a night of nervously checking social media rather than clutching a transistor radio to one ear to find out what’s going on elsewhere; the source of information might have changed, but the drama that final game group deciders can provide is as consistent as ever.
Joshua Kimmich (Germany) against Portugal
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH – Robin Gosens (Germany)
It was a mercy for Nelson Semedo when Gosens was taken off after just over an hour of play. By that point he’d scored a goal, set up another and had ripped Portugal open down the left all evening. It was a devastating display of attacking play from left back position, and the cornerstone of Germany’s victory.
Portugal (4-2-3-1): Patricio 6; Semedo 5, Pepe 5, Dias 6, Guerreiro 4; Danilo 6, Carvalho 6; B Silva 6, Fernandes 5, Jota 7; Ronaldo 7. Subs: Sanches 7, F Silva 6, Moutinho 6, A Silva 6
'Germany were predictable' - Portugal boss after losing 4-2
15’ GOAL! Portugal 1-0 Germany (Ronaldo): Portugal have absolutely done Germany on the break here! Ronaldo heads clear a German corner, and Bernardo Silva breaks at pace. His long, diagonal ball finds Jota clean through in the German area; he squares it to Ronaldo, who had made up ninety yards to simply tap the ball into the empty net with Neuer stranded!
35’ GOAL! Portugal 1-1 Germany (Dias o.g.): Germany have threatened in wide areas, and the two players stationed there have helped pull them level. Kimmich finds Gosens with a looping cross to the back post; he smashes it across goal on the volley, where in challenging Havertz, Dias can only shin the ball into the net past a helpless Patricio. Germany are level! It's credited to Havertz for now, but it's definitely an own goal.
39’ GOAL! Portugal 1-2 Germany (Guerreiro o.g.): Crikey - they're in front! Muller lobs a ball in to the area. Havertz misses what should be a simple volley into the net, but Kimmich smashes it back across goal and now Guerrerio shins one into his own net! My oh my.
45+3’ CHANCE! A shocking pass from Bernardo Silva gifts possession to Gnabry, who has a free run at Pepe. He takes it forward from his own half all the way into the area, gliding past Pepe with ease, and his fierce shot is well saved by Patricio.
51’ GOAL! Portugal 1-3 Germany 3 (Havertz): Germany score, this time via one of their own players! It's a lovely move, worked across the face of the Portuguese box, where Muller finds Gosens in acres on the left. He fires a superb low cross into the area where Havertz is waiting to tap the ball into the net.
60’ GOAL! Portugal 1-4 Germany (Gosens): He's earned this. Germany spring forward, and work Kimmich into space on the right. He clips a perfect cross to the back post where Gosens is waiting, totally unmarked, to thump a header into the net.
67’ GOAL! Portugal 2-4 Germany (Jota): Well now! The free kick from the left clears everyone. Ronaldo lunges at the back post to loop it back across goal, where Jota is waiting to tap in from millimetres out. It's VAR checked, but it stands; game on again?
79’ OFF THE POST! Portugal work a corner short to Sanches. He utterly creams one from 25 yards out, which batters the post and flies back out with Neuer rooted. What a strike!
Low: Teams who play perfect in first two games rarely win tournaments
With his 19th goal in the European Championship and World Cup combined, Ronaldo equalled the record currently held by Miroslav Klose.