Germany desperately needs a win after losing their opening game to France, not just for the sake of points, but also for the sake of their players’ confidence. Unfortunately, this group is likely to be the most difficult of the bunch, which means the beleaguered Germans will face a strong and in-form Portuguese side on the very first matchday of the Euros.
With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes on display, Joachim Low will need to rethink his tactics if his team is to win. France demonstrated that Germany’s offense lacks fluidity, and the midfield struggles to protect the defense. Both of these issues are addressed by the squad. The question is whether the coach will be able to put them into action.
Saturday, June 19 | 12 p.m. ET
The venue is the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany.
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Portugal: The team was quite good defensively, but they cannot afford to leave it late against the Germans or they will pay the price. Portugal’s possession of 70% should fall dramatically against the structured and disciplined Germans, and the key will be to use the speed they have to get forward on the counter. But will Diogo Jota make his debut? In the opener, the Liverpool man was absolutely awful, missing numerous key chances, failing to deliver the key pass when needed, and displaying a terrible touch. He put himself in a position, but he appeared to be lacking in confidence. Another offensive option, such as going with Andre Silva, could be the wise choice here.
Germany: With Joachim Low’s team containing France’s top players for the majority of the match, they’ll have a tough time stopping Cristiano Ronaldo. While they should be able to compete with him in the air, they will need to limit their mistakes and keep Antonio Rudiger on him as much as possible. This is a team that can frustrate and irritate Ronaldo, so don’t be surprised if a lack of service causes Ronaldo to push out wide or deeper. If that happens, they’ll need someone in the middle to apply defensive pressure on him and keep him wide.
Ronaldo gets his, but Timo Werner scores a fine second-half goal to split the points. Prediction: Portugal 1, Germany 1 (Draw +225).