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.
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.
Adrian Chiles is going to be LIVID
Portugal would have had a penalty on another day.
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.
Like a screenshot from Grand Theft Auto… the tragedy.
Coentrão off in the big orange stretcher – nice aerial shot for added drama
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.
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.
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
Klose will get his goal for this tournament later today.
Is that really FIFA’s main priority?
Apparently Pepe is the reason Portugal are behind…. Wasn’t it 2-0 when he went.
Yes, Adrian you are mad… Play acting is not worse than head butting
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.
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!
(Also was trying to multi task – watch football, concentrate on blog and feed baby)
Missed that as other half wandered in front of the telly
Hummels makes it 2-0 with a bullet header.
Portugal looking outdone here already.
Apparently it’s going to be Eder of Braga to take Almeida’s place.
They’ll revolutionise Football when they do “bounds line technology” or BLT for short.
Was that a throw in?
Moutinho inspired by the Honduran way of tackling there
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)
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.
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
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.