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Tonight marks the beginning of the World Cup group stages for three-time champions Germany, or more specifically West Germany, who have also reached 4 other final appearances. Meanwhile their opponents in Salvador this evening, Portugal, haven’t managed to better their third place finish back in 1966.
It’s widely expected that their star man Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid fame, will start the game after some injury concerns coming into the tournament. He did limp off on Thursday’s training session and it was suspected that his reoccurring knee problems had returned. On the flip side Germany have some concerns over their talisman midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. He was airlifted to hospital on Saturday but is expected to be within their starting eleven as the trip was for ‘check-up’ purposes only.
Germany got through their warm up’s pretty easily but only managed a draw with Cameroon on 1st June. Expectations are high and a place in the last four is likely to be the minimum requirement from Joachim Low’s squad. They completed their qualification campaign unbeaten but some concerns remain over their ability in the final third. Marco Reus, one of only two real centre forwards in their squad, has been removed due to injury leaving Miroslav Klose as their only option of an out-an-out striker. Their strength in depth from midfield though is of legendary proportions; with Matthias Ginter, Christoph Kramer and Julian Draxler all looking to stake a claim on the tournament from the substitute’s bench (and all more than capable).
Portugal also had some successful friendlies ahead of the tournament and registered wins over the Republic of Ireland and World Cup hopefuls Mexico. This came of the back of a rocky qualification campaign where it took an invigorated Ronaldo to get them through a tough play-off with Sweden. Portugal cannot rely on their talisman alone, especially if this injury of his returns, and they already have a tricky group to navigate. Paulo Bento’s side are as unpredictable as they are talented; able to win or lose against any opponents on any given day. Joan Moutinho, Pepe and Raul Meireles carry plenty of experience in the squad but with nine players in their thirties and an average age of 28.5 we could see them struggle in the Brazilian humidity.
Come join us just before 5:00pm (GMT) for what is sure to be a fantastic encounter between these European powerhouses.
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Well that’s it for this one… 200% will be back just before 8:00pm for Iran vs. Nigeria
I’m really praying Adrian Chiles stayed on that beach and remains there past the final.
“unsavoury bit of nonsense” – could be an accurate description of the itv coverage
I love seeing Ronaldo lose. What a winker!
Classic Ronaldo sad face
And that’s it 4-0 to Germany.
Well drilled and determined beats Ballon D’or and Pace.
I love how Nani always forgets himself when Portugal get a freekick…. it’s always going to be Ronaldo.
And it take a terrific save from Neuer to deny him.
Two more minutes to go
Nothing much happening in the football….
Keeping up to date on the Sky scoreboard.
Oooh, and the test match. If you like cricket, you’ll want to watch…
Ronaldo free-kick. One man in the wall. He hits him. His day…
Quickstep into the future. 2024: Veteran German striker Thomas Muller, seeking one more payday, signs for Premier League stalwarts West Bromwich Albion…
Tyldesley’s comment about Chiles walking on the beach – a reminder that he was good once
Adrian had better still be on the beach when we go back to the studio
Ronaldo’s hair is as floppy and sweaty as his performance tonight.
It’s turned in by Thomas Muller (Hatrick!). Taps in a loose ball home after Andre Schurrle’s shot is saved.
Penalty and a sending-off. And a hat-trick for Muller. Cut to ITV studio please
Adrian Chiles is going to be LIVID
Portugal would have had a penalty on another day.
Germany might struggle in “the nitty-gritty stage”, whatever that is (there’s a Tour de France in the North of England joke in there somewhere)
It’s all got a bit slow here. Cagey half from both teams. Neither willing to push too many players forward.
Hummel’s has been solid. Hopefully, for Germany, he won’t be out for long.
Ouch, another slow mo to make you wince
The only positive tonight is his first name.
And a finishing coach??
Does Mario Goetze share a hair-stylist with Scott Parker?
Like a screenshot from Grand Theft Auto… the tragedy.
Coentrão off in the big orange stretcher – nice aerial shot for added drama
Coentrao felt both his hamstring AND his groin there didn’t he? NOT Ha-ha…
The blistering pace is coming off.
That’s why he’s “the best man in the world” though.
Ronaldo getting his body between the defender and the ball there. Shame his freekick only hit the wall.
That £40 million price tag has given him the jitters.
Given how good Ozil was four years ago, it is sad that you just KNEW he wouldn’t score there
Oh dear, lack of communication there for Portugal
Ozil with the first chance of the second half. Tried to squeeze it past Rui Patricio but the keeper makes a good save. Muller’s headed follow-up goes over the bar. This is becoming a routine exercise for the Germans.
Clive Tyldesley: “Us, the neutrals.” Yes, Clive…
Germany look happy just to hold onto the ball this half already. Portugal have seven back whenever their opponents have the ball – obviously don’t want this to get embarrassing….
We’re back underway with Costa taking over from Veloso
Cricket’s getting exciting BTW
Adrian Chiles need to bear in mind the old axiom, don’t hate the player, don’t hate the game, hate ITV’s coverage of it.
Adrian Chiles morphing into “Irish controversialist” Eamon Dunphy. Think he’s mostly talking cods but…I dunno, he has a point in there somewhere, I think. Will just need to see the replay to work out what it is.
Still. Pepe. Ha-ha…
Klose will get his goal for this tournament later today.
FIFA’s number one priority is what now????
Portugal will need to change shape in the second half. Ronaldo will lead the line, with Clive Tyldesley playing just behind him, trying to touch his bum.
The Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio will continue his one-man attempt to make the “False One” a thing.
Is that really FIFA’s main priority?
Apparently Pepe is the reason Portugal are behind…. Wasn’t it 2-0 when he went.
Now, I wasn’t expecting THAT.
Yes, Adrian you are mad… Play acting is not worse than head butting
Actually, before we get to the studio, I think Pepe WAS slightly unfortunate. Still, Pepe getting sent-off. Funny. Getting sent-off unfairly, p**s f*****g funny. (Reworking an old Brendon Burns line, there)
That duck’s going to get nutted in a minute…
HALF-TIME ARTIST’S IMPRESSION: Pepe enjoying his early bath
Right, which studio pundit has defended Pepe, then?
And Ronaldo doesn’t look like “the greatest man on earth” today
Can Portugal claw anything back? They are quick going forward but don’t seem to know what to do when they get there, apart from pass to Ronaldo
Rui Patricio tried to save that one with his legs. Someone should tell him he can use his hands.
I feel like I’m Ozil bashing but he always has his mouth open. Like he’s shocked to be here.
Muller makes it three-nil with a fine left footed shot from just inside the area.
Ozil clearly has bags of energy now from ambling about for most of the half
All the Germany team stand over this freekick… except Neuer because he’s not picky.
“You don’t go right up to someone and push your head into them…that’s nuts.” Well…yes…
My highlight of the World Cup. Not so far…for ever. Ronaldo’s got it all to do now.
Who would have thought Pepe would do that eh? *raises eyebrows*
Have Portugal gone down to 10 too early?!
Pepe and Muller having a confrontation and a red is shown…. to Pepe it seems.
Angry Portuguese Man!
Have the Germans gone two-up too early??? And Andy Townsend seems confused as to whether or not you should “always look for Ronaldo.” Coentrao should have…
(Also was trying to multi task – watch football, concentrate on blog and feed baby)
TACTICAL ANALYSIS: @ 33 minutes. Heat map of Nani’s touches for Portugal vs. Germany, World Cup First Round, 16.6.2014
Missed that as other half wandered in front of the telly
I’m all in favour of Portugal getting knocked out in the first round of this.
Hummels makes it 2-0 with a bullet header.
Portugal looking outdone here already.
“The Germans won’t have seen too much of Eder.” Trans: Clive Tyldesley hasn’t seen too much of Eder.
Apparently it’s going to be Eder of Braga to take Almeida’s place.
Hugo Almeida. The concept of the “false number nine” made flesh. Oh…and Magnum PI, ten years after retirement. Bring on Postiga…what?…oh…
They’ll revolutionise Football when they do “bounds line technology” or BLT for short.
Was that a throw in?
Ha ha ha, oh Christ. We have a winner over goal-line technology.
Moutinho inspired by the Honduran way of tackling there
The concept of a diagonal pass “in Joao Pereira” is an interesting one, especially when it is “around” him as well.
I didn’t realise he was even on the pitch
It appears that Ozil doesn’t even run in football matches
I ran home from work today.
(‘ran’ = paced walk)
Right, I’m back from work now. This is why I haven’t put myself down for any of the five o’clock kick-offs. Bus driver almost sailed clean past my stop, too. There’d have been a bloody five o’clock kick-off on that bus if it hadn’t stopped.
Eh? WHO? WHAT?
In possession in front of goal, eight yards out, defenders four yards away EACH and STILL its not a clear goalscoring opportunity. Right-o.
Later in the match that would probably have been a red.
Was Pereira lucky there? Looked like a big shirt tug with a heap of clumsiness
Muller with the Penalty… and it’s in via the bottom left.
Keeper almost there….. those crafty Germans!
Penalty for Germany here. Pereira tried to recover from a Germany break but tugs down Mario Gotze.
Ronaldo gets his first real chance of the game but the big body of Neuer makes it safe.
Straight up the other end and Rui Patricio almost gifts Gotze a goal from his miskick but the German midfield fails to hit the target.
Nani’s appearance record for Man Yoo last season is a reminder that David Moyes didn’t get EVERYTHING wrong
Junkleclunks? Noting that word down for future reference.
Looks like both team will try and attack each other during this one. The Germanys are so well drilled that I see them being very hard to breakdown but Cameroon managed it with their pace during the warm up games and it’s one of the main thing the Portugal attack have in abundance.
That is a brave look, moustache *and* hairband
Frustratingly, I’m going to miss the first five minutes of this. But hey, I’m not afraid to liveblog about it anyway.
It’s been eighteen years since Germany last won a major tournament (although the women’s is most definitely one of the very best in the world) and it’s now twenty-four years since they last won the World Cup. Those sort of numbers make me feel old.
I don’t think that, regardless of the teams they’ve had in recent years, Portugal have come as close to winning a World Cup as they did in 1966, when they gave England a hell of a game in the semi finals and might well have won had that match been played at Goodison Park rather than Wembley.
Ah yes, the grudge against Ronaldo continues. As Andy Zaltzman wrote the other week: “In 2006, he somehow managed to prove that winking a bit annoyingly is, to the English mind at least, a far more heinous crime than kicking someone in their junkleclunks, a logical contortion that had proved beyond even Aristotle.” My thoughts, exactly.
And you can’t really direct all your ire against Ronaldo in a team which contains Pepe.
I do love the “arrow” on that Germany shirt. Very nice indeed.
Crowd noise almost drowning out Andy Townsend, so far so good
We’re back from ITV’s pre-game advert break. Looks like Germany will be starting this one off for us.
Eurgh the ITV credits are so tinpot
The Portuguese team can actually sing their anthem in tune. Amazing!
I think you heard that correctly. What a winker?
(Yes, I’m still bitter)
Did he just say Ronaldo was the “greatest man on the planet”?
And I’m trying to keep one eye on the telly and one on my son who is threatening to crawl for the first time during this game…
So here we go… a rushed return for work but I’ve made it with minutes to spare.
Lots of speed in the Portugal line-up. This one could go one of two ways this one. I’m hoping this won’t be the first draw of the tournament.