Portugal to put Germany on brink of elimination
Another intriguing match in the so-called 'Group of Death' is set to take place at Euro 2020 in Munich on Saturday evening. Portugal survived a couple of scares from Hungary before bursting into life in the last 10 minutes by scoring three. That scoreline is sufficient to have them topping Group F at the time of writing, and they will know that a toothless Germany have to set their stall out to beat them to have any real hope of qualifying. Die Mannschaft squandered arguably the better (legal) chances against France, but the 1-0 defeat still flattered the hosts of that high level encounter. A Seleção are far better organised in defence and potent in attack, and that spells disaster for Jogi Löw. Read our preview here:
Fernando Santos' men barely put a foot wrong in their 3-0 opening victory, and there was a more than a small sense of familiarity about the late rally to win, which was very reminiscent of their march to the trophy in 2016. João Cancelo tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, and has been replaced in the squad by Diogo Dalot. The AC Milan loanee is unlikely to dislodge either of the full-backs in the four man defence, however. The ability to shift from a deep conservatism to being ruthless in attack starts with Raphaël Guerreiro and Nélson Semedo, and Germany need to be really careful they're not overwhelmed in wide areas. Rafa Silva had a big impact from the bench, but might have to settle for another cameo role - Diogo Jota, Bruno Fernandes, and Bernardo Silva will support the record-breaking Cristiano Ronaldo in attack once more.
It wasn't all bad for Germany in their opener. Despite having no focal point whatsoever in attack, they were able to exploit the space in behind Kylian Mbappé to build up attacks through the half-spaces. Löw could opt to shift Serge Gnabry into a wider role to make more use of his pace to get down the sides of the Portuguese centre backs. He will also be looking for Thomas Müller to have far more of an impact. The Bayern forward was largely anonymous against France, and it might prove very difficult to break down his opponents when they adopt a compact shape.
Another new Löw
Many observers vehemently believed a change of management at the head of the German national team should've come much sooner than after Euro 2020. Many of their most prominent and talented names have retired in the intervening three years, and they are still no closer to finding personnel or a system that really works for them during the current transitional period. Portugal meanwhile seem to go from strength to strength, and are still way overpriced to beat Germany at 3.20 with Parimatch.
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