Blitzkrieg!


Going head on: Germany’s Matthias Ginter (left) vying for the ball with France’s Kylian Mbappe during the opening Group F match in Munich. — AP

MUNICH: Germany will need to create more chances that can work against holders Portugal after their Group F opening loss to France has put them under pressure from the very start of the European Championship.

The Germans have looked more solid at the back of late, and despite a Mats Hummels own goal against world champions France, had done a decent job at containing as much as possible one of the world’s best frontlines with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, in his last tournament in charge, is unlikely to tinker with his three-man backline but their attack showed only brief signs of life against France.

Given their poor conversion rate in the past two years, the Germans will need to improve dramatically if they are to get full points against Portugal.

Germany are currently in third place without points in Group F after losing their first ever Euro opening game, with Portugal and France on three.

Hungary are bottom after their 3-0 loss to Portugal.

Playing with Serge Gnabry in a forward role and Kai Havertz and Thomas Mueller on the wings did not work for Loew’s team, with winger Gnabry struggling to find any breathing space in and around the French box.

He had one good chance before being replaced in the 74th minute by Timo Werner, who also failed to have any impact.

“Germany are missing their punch, they are taking too few risks. There is too little activity in attack, ” said 2014 World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger, now a TV pundit.

Not even the introduction of Leroy Sane breathed new life, leaving the coach to try and solve his attacking conundrum.

“If we can be more vigorous up front, we will be able to beat Portugal, ” Loew said.

That is easier said than done with Kevin Volland the only out-and-out striker in the squad.

Portugal do not share Germany’s attacking problems, with skipper Cristiano Ronaldo becoming the top scorer in Euro finals history after netting twice in their 3-0 opening win over Hungary to take his tally to 11.

He may have never scored against Germany keeper Manuel Neuer at international level but with his current form few would bet against him ending that run today.

“It was fundamental to start on the right foot to gain confidence and now we have to continue in the next game and win too, ” said Ronaldo after the win over Hungary.

Portugal’s Premier League trio of Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva are all also capable of match-winning moments.

Coach Fernando Santos was even able to start with Andre Silva, who scored 28 Bundesliga goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix and Lille’s Ligue 1 title-winner Renato Sanches on the bench against Hungary.

“Now it’s about Germany and we must keep improving, ” said Santos.

“’Kill or be killed’, as (ex-Portugal coach Luiz Felipe) Scolari used to say.”

A win in Munich would send Portugal into the knockout phase for a seventh straight European Championship. — Agencies

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

euro mania 2020 , football , UEFA ,

   

Next In Football

Silva steals show in big win for JDT
Soccer-Villa reach agreement with Leverkusen over Bailey transfer
Soccer-Tebas dismisses court ruling asking UEFA to revoke action against Super League trio
Olympics-Soccer-Spain overcome Ivory Coast in extra time to reach semis
Elephants look to M&M's to add bite in Super League challenge
Soccer-Super League trio welcome court decision asking UEFA to revoke action
Perak coach: Show same fighting spirit against JDT
Soccer-Arsenal sign England defender White from Brighton on long-term deal
Soccer-Villarreal's Parejo set to miss Chelsea Super Cup clash
Soccer-Donnarumma's Milan heir Maignan aims to write his own story

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers