Sunday, June 10, 2012

Germany 1 Portugal 0

CRISTIANO RONALDO finally ran out of goals as Jerome Boateng made amends for his naughty night on the town. 

Boateng had been told he owed a huge favour to Germany boss Joachim Low after being pictured leaving a Berlin hotel with a glamour model on the eve of their departure to the Euros.
And the Bayern Munich defender paid off that debt with a no-nonsense marking job on Ronaldo here in Lviv last night.
The world’s most expensive player, who scored 60 goals last season, hardly got a kick as his Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho looked on from the VIP box willing his Portuguese compatriots to victory.
Instead it was left to Mario Gomez to grab the glory with a 72nd-minute header from Sami Khedira’s deep cross just as he was about to be substituted.
With striker Miroslav Klose waiting to come on as his replacement, Gomez rose above Pepe to plant Khedira’s deflected cross beyond keeper Rui Patricio.
Low admitted: “I wanted to make the change two minutes earlier but the fourth official took too long sorting out the board and while we were waiting Mario scored.”
Gomez had suffered a nightmare as Bayern Munich were beaten by Chelsea in last month’s Champions League final. 

And it was evident that the seven Bayern stars in Germany’s starting line-up are determined to make amends here after storming through the qualifiers on the back of 10 straight wins.

That confidence is shared by their travelling supporters and last night was probably not the first time Lviv’s beautiful town centre had been filled with Germans singing their drinking songs.
But at least this time the locals could join in the fun as Euro fever finally took Ukraine in its grip.
Gomez could have put the Germans ahead after just 80 seconds and Arsenal’s new £11million striker Lukas Podolski twice failed to hit the target with decent opportunities.
They almost paid the price on the stroke of half-time when Portuguese defender Pepe fired against the bar and saw the ball bounce down on the goal-line. 

Nani also hit the top of the woodwork with a mis-directed cross in the closing stages before Manuel Neuer was forced to make a crucial stoppage-time save from sub Silvestre Valera.

Portugal coach Paulo Bento moaned: “This result is totally unjustified. We were in total control of the game when Germany scored and we created many chances.
“Now we have to beat Denmark on Wednesday night if we are to go through to the quarter-finals. No other result will do.”
Yet Bento refused to condemn the half-hearted efforts of captain Ronaldo, who was totally overshadowed by his Real Madrid team-mate Mesut Ozil last night.
In fact the only thing slick about the £80million superstar was his greased-down 1920s hairstyle and the occasional trademark step-over.
His first real sniff of goal did not arrived until the 65th minute and, once again, former Manchester City man Boateng was on hand to snuff out the danger with a crucial tackle.
Low said: “I told my defenders time and again not to take any risks against quality players like Ronaldo and Nani and we were so solid at the back. 

“Both teams were under so much pressure because it is like starting a Formula One race without a warm-up lap. It’s not like the World Cup when you can use the opening game to acclimatise.

“You have to win your first game or you have everything to do in your next match.
“Both teams were very tense after Denmark’s win against the Dutch and that makes our next game against Holland even more difficult.
“I’d have preferred Holland to draw because now we face a very strong team whose backs are against the wall and know it is now all or nothing for them.”
GERMANY: Neuer 7, Boateng 8, Hummels 7, Badstuber 7, Lahm 6, Khedira 7, Schweinsteiger 7, Muller 6, Ozil 8, Podolski 5, Gomez 6. SUBS: Klose (Gomez 80) 5, Kroos (Ozil 87) 4, Bender (Muller 93) 4. Booked: Badstuber, Boateng.
PORTUGAL: Patricio 6, Pereira 7, Alves 7, Pepe 6, Coentrao 6, Meireles 6, Veloso 6, Moutinho 6, Nani 5, Postiga 5, Ronaldo 5. SUBS: Oliveira (Postiga 70) 6, Varela (Meireles 80) 6. Booked: Postiga, Coentrao. 

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